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  • Writer's picturekirstycriticalmineral

CMIA Launch

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

We are delighted to share with you exciting updates. The Critical Minerals Association is rebranding to the Critical Minerals Association (UK) as we are proud to announce the launch of the Critical Minerals International Alliance (CMIA). The CMIA is a mechanism that brings together our sister associations, CMA Australia and CMA USA, and partners with C2M2A at an international level to address challenges facing the industry.

With growth come changes. Jeff Townsend, Founder of CMA, will be stepping down from his leadership role to focus on driving the CMIA as CEO. Kirsty Benham, Founder of CMA will be taking up the role of CEO of the CMA (UK) following the transitions from the 1 October. Jeff will however continue to support our members. We are sad to say goodbye to Olimpia Pilch who is stepping down from her role at the CMA (UK) to focus on growing the CMIA as COO, but we look forward to collaborating with the CMIA, and our sister associations to best represent and position UK’s industry on the international stage.

Critical minerals underpin the foundation of the modern world, yet challenges such as ESG standardisation, under-investment into the sector, transport legislation, and policy alignment cut-across borders and affect the acceleration of critical minerals production, threaten national security and the deployment of alternative energy solutions. The CMIA aims to create diversified, secure, and responsible critical minerals supply chains that are resilient to market shocks and manipulations. This requires collaboration from industry and like-minded nations.

When the Critical Minerals Association was initially founded by Jeff Townsend and Kirsty Benham in 2020, the association undertook the challenging task of shifting the UK Government’s attitudes towards critical minerals extraction. The CMA (UK) has since been proud to accomplish many achievements including influencing the UK’s inaugural Critical Minerals Strategy and subsequent ‘Refresh’ published earlier this year. As an active interlocutor between UK Government, industry and wider stakeholders, the CMA (UK) has been involved in bringing responsible sourcing to the forefront of discussions around net zero, the green agenda and building a resilient economy.

None of this of course would have been possible without our members. We grew from an initial 11 Founding Members to now 40 members across the critical minerals ecosystem including exploration, refining, consulting, finance, and legal. Our Founding Members, Fasken, SRK Consulting, Satarla, Minviro, Wood Mackenzie (then Roskill), Cornish Lithium, Cornwall Resources, Technical Critical Minerals, E-Tech Resources, Mkango Resources, and TechMet deserve a special thank you, without whom the association would not exist. As we continue to represent the voice of the UK industry, tackle domestic challenges, and represent UK’s interest on the international stage we hope that we continue to be supported by our members who are leading the charge.

The vision of the teams at CMIA, CMA (UK), CMA Aus, CMA USA has always focused on helping industry navigate supply chain complexities, geopolitics and to drive structural change in how the West and like-minded nations approach extraction, processing, and refining. To truly turn the dial, we need greater industry and government collaboration at an international level. In 2022, Jeff Townsend founded CMA Australia alongside Olimpia Pilch and Namali Mackay, and CMA USA earlier this year alongside Olimpia Pilch and Wilfredo Reyes. This network of associations enables us to best position our member’s interests and benefit from close collaboration.

Learn about the associations below.

About CMIA

The CMIA aims to bridge the gap between Western nations and industry attempting to navigate complex and monopolised supply chains. The CMIA focuses on cross-cutting issues that affect supply chains and are too complex for one nation to tackle alone with a mission to create secure, low-carbon, responsible critical minerals supply chains.


  • Jeff Townsend, Founder & Chief Executive Officer

  • Olimpia Pilch, Founder & Chief Operating Officer

Board of Directors:

  • Kirsty Benham, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, CMA (UK)

  • Namali Mackay, Founder & Managing Director, CMA Australia

  • Wilfredo Reyes, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, CMA USA

Twitter | @CMIA_alliance

About CMA Australia

The CMAA was launched in 2022 to represent the voice of Australia’s critical minerals industry and to best position Australia as a responsible and competitive producer of critical minerals. The CMAA focuses on aligning the Australian industry with international OEM expectations and creating value add opportunities domestically.


  • Namali Mackay, Founder & Managing Director

  • Jeff Townsend, Founder & Director

  • Olimpia Pilch, Founder & Senior Advisor

Twitter | @CMA_Aus


The CMA USA was founded in early 2023 and focuses on enabling Made in America supply chains by driving greater integration of responsible, resilient, and secure critical minerals. The CMA USA promotes the triple-A approach to bolstering America’s security – mined in America, refined in America, and made in America.


  • Wilfredo A. Reyes, Founder & Chief Executive Officer

  • Jeff Townsend, Founder & Executive Director

  • Olimpia Pilch, Founder, Chief Geologist & Senior Advisor

Twitter | @Critical_USA

About C2M2A

The Canadian Critical Minerals and Materials Alliance (C2M2A) is a non-profit, independent organization which endeavours to grow & diversify the Canadian economy, fostering job creation, through the development of critical materials supply chains. C2M2A will enable stakeholders to collaborate on shared priorities, both globally and locally, while respecting each jurisdiction’s needs and abilities, ensuring continued competitiveness, and sustainable & viable business outcomes.


  • Ian London P.Eng MBA, Executive Director

Web |

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