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Marc LeVier Last month’s Mining Engineering featured the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) annual mining and critical minerals reviews. These yearly reports are always of interest in examining the changes to supply and demand projections as well as how the future bodes for the mining industry. I paid particular attention to the detailed explanation of the methodology used to determine how critical minerals are selected for the official list. The methodology is logical and uses models with statistical analysis to assess which elements qualify for critical status. The article explained why copper is not on the critical minerals list. Based on copper import levels, annual domestic production, and production from countries like Chile, Mexico and Canada, which have free trade agreements with the United States, the USGS reported that the amount of imported copper is “not high by historical standards.” The report went on to say that the USGS is in the process of reviewing the critical minerals list as part of the normal three-year cycle mandated by the Energy Act of 2020, and any revisions to the list will be issued through a public review in due course.
This explanation seems rational — or does the explanation ignore the recent pleadings of U.S. senators, the National Mining Association and others to add copper to the critical m ...
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