Cristina Maria Villegas is Director of Mining at Pact, a global nonprofit organization with offices in 40 countries ( She is a top global expert in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and is known for her specialization in gemstones, diamonds, gold, and cosmetics-grade mica.  She specializes in ethical sourcing/risk management within artisanal mining supply chains, rural development strategies, ASM market development, gender & mining, and reducing child labor in mining.

She recently led the team that created Moyo Gems, a first-of-its kind responsible mine-to-market sourcing program, which works with the female artisanal gemstone miners of Tanzania. Moyo Gems works hand in hand with miners to improve their mining and safety, offers complete traceability via blockchain from verified legal sources, and maximizes the value in country. More at

In 2021, she was awarded the IAC Annual Award for Leadership in Responsible Practice in Jewelry. 

Cristina serves on the following jewelry-related advisory committees and boards:
  • Gemstones & Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub
  • Ethical Metalsmiths
  • Jewelry Industry Summit
  • CRAFT Code for ASM
  • UNEP Global Mercury Partnership (ASM Gold Expert)
  • Fairtrade Gold Technical Advisory Group
  • Conservation X Labs

She is regularly consulted as an ASM expert on gold, gemstones, and conflict minerals by such organizations as USAID, U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Labor, the World Bank, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UN Women, technology companies, and journalists for the Economist, Forbes, Reuters, The UK Guardian, Wired Magazine, and The Washington Post, among others. She also lectures at Columbia University’s massive open online course (MOOC) focused on extractives.

With more than 15 years of international development-sector experience, she has done field work in the following countries: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and beyond.

Ms. Villegas is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego and the London School of Economics.

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