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Cristina Maria Villegas

Cristina Maria Villegas

Director of Mining

Categories covered by Cristina Maria

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Global Initiatives and Insight

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About this Speaker

Cristina a mining & rural development specialist focused on responsible mining and sourcing. She works with all scales and types of mineral producers, from industrial mining companies to artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM). She is known for her specialization in gemstones, diamonds, gold and other jewelry-relevant materials, but she has previously worked in cassiterite (tin), tantalum, tungsten, coal, salt, and other materials around the world. She has an emerging interest in mica in cosmetics supply chains. Since 2016, Cristina has been collaborating with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and other partners to reach artisanal gem miners across Africa to improve miners' market skills, begin their gemstone education journey, and ultimately transform gemstone mining communities, where supply chains begin. In 2019, Cristina led a team to co-found Moyo Gems, a first-of-its kind responsible mine to market sourcing program working with ASM to source beautiful colored gemstones, assure their provenance, improve their mining, and bring these traced stones to market. The program unabashedly prioritizes the participation and needs of women miners, having been co-designed with the women miners themselves. Since 2019, more than 2,000 colored gems have been traced from vetted gem miner to market using blockchain technology. More at Cristina has more than 15 years of international development-sector experience, including field work in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and beyond.