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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 has had an unexpected boost from the new wave of violence: gold. With inflation soaring and the currency collapsing, the precious metal — extracted mainly by artisanal miners in Africa’s newest nation — is more highly prized than ever. At the same time, last year’s spread of armed unrest to Equatoria — a southern region that may be home to sizable deposits — has left authorities with little remit over mining. The result: a virtual free-for-all as miners and traders shrug off the risks of the three-year civil war and pile in. "Many of us are going to look for gold because we know the profits are big," al-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 ...

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