Miners work at an excavation site for gold in Namorinyang, Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan, November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Adriane Ohanesian
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JUBA: After South Sudan's peace deal collapsed, gun battles rocked the capital and soldiers ransacked his clothing store, Ahmed al-Nur faced the economic crisis in a trade that's had an unexpected boost from the new wave of violence: gold."Many of us are going to look for gold because we know the profits are big," Nur, who travels to Equatoria to buy from miners, said in an interview. He lost about $20,000 when his store in the capital, Juba, was looted last year and says he now makes as much as $1,000 a month selling gold in the city, a trade that's officially illegal.South Sudan, mired in conflict that's killed tens of thousands of people since December 2013, relies on oil production for almost all its revenue and hasn't officially exported any gold. The economy will probably contract 3.5 percent this year, after shrinking 13.8 percent last year, according to the International Monetary Fund, while inflation was 334 percent in May.A central bank study in March noted about 200 unofficial gold traders are working in Equatoria, dealing in a combined 40 to 50 kilograms (1,411-1,764 ounces) per month, according to Andu Ezbon Adde, undersecretary at the Mining Ministry.
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