The US Geological Survey is ruling that copper is not a critical mineral in the United States, Kallanish reports.

The news came in a series of letters to members of Congress who had asked to immediately add copper to the official US Critical Minerals list due to the dramatic and growing supply risk.

The letters were from USGS Director David Applegate to Congress members who had called on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to add copper to the list. In his letters, Applegate says US net reliance on copper imports dropped slightly in 2022, even as domestic copper consumption increased, and that such a designation is not warranted at this time.

Virginia-based pro-copper trade group Copper Development Association (CSA) released the letters and sharply criticized the decision. The USGS looks at supply risk in a “rearward looking analysis that does not address current and forward-looking policy demands that can leave domestic supply chains short of critical materials,” says CSA’s president and ceo Andrew G. Kireta Jr.

According to the group, an association study shows that copper’s updated supply risk score is now above the 2022 threshold. It is calling on Congress to fight “this ill-conceived and unfounded decision.”

The next official update of the US Critical Minerals list is expected in 2025-2026. The last list was released in February 2022 and includes 50 minerals. By adding copper to the list, Haaland could make copper mining and processing projects eligible for federal support and provide benefits from federal financial incentives. The red metal has been designated a critical mineral in Europe.