Sinema & Colleagues Urge Administration to Designate Copper as a Critical Mineral in Interest of National Security

Feb 2, 2023

Senators wrote U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland highlighting the economic, environmental, and national security benefits of adding copper to official critical minerals list

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema led a letter joined by U.S. Senators Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) urging U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to designate copper as an official U.S. Geological Survey Critical Mineral, emphasizing new analysis, and its well-documented importance to national security, water infrastructure, electrical and clean energy infrastructure, and more.
“By recognizing copper as a “critical mineral,” the United States’ federal government can more effectively ensure a secure and reliable supply of domestic copper resources in the years to come at all points of the supply chain including recycling, mining, and processing. Given the enormous investment required, the time lag for new sources of supply, and projected demand, time is of the essence,” wrote the Senators.
Recognizing copper as a critical mineral would allow the U.S. government to more effectively ensure a secure and reliable supply of domestic copper resources in the years to come. 
Recently, the Copper Development Association found that copper’s increased supply risk surpasses the U.S. Geological Survey threshold necessary to be added to the official critical minerals list. In their letter to Secretary Haaland, the Senators highlighted that the Copper Development Association report indicates the supply risk shows no signs of slowing down.
A new methodology that calculates supply risk using economic vulnerability, disruption potential, and trade exposure of various minerals found that the risk to copper imports, particularly from adversarial countries like Russia and China, has only increased in recent years.
This effort builds on Sinema’s leadership to bolster critical supply chains and ensure Arizona is at the forefront of providing the minerals and materials needed for national defense and energy security. Recently, Sinema was presented with recommendations on how to strengthen the critical minerals supply chain from a task force she commissioned through her leadership of the Arizona Defense and Industry Coalition. At Sinema’s direction, the working group is focused on increasing critical minerals and materials from recycling and re-processing waste streams, and improving processing and refining capacity, while ensuring the highest environmental and social standards.
Click HERE to read the working group’s report.
Additionally, Sinema secured historic funding for critical mineral and clean energy supply chains research in her bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law:
o    $3 billion for Battery Material Processing Grants
o    $3 billion for Battery Manufacturing and Recycling Grants
o    $320 million into the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative
o    $167 million to establish a USGS Energy and Minerals Research Facility
o    $140 million to establish a Rare Earth Elements Demonstration Facility
o    $200 million for an Electric Drive Vehicle Battery Recycling and Second-Life Applications Program
o    $750 million for an Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program
o    $100 million for Critical Minerals Mining and Recycling Research
Click HERE to read Sinema’s letter.