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Gold miners keep working in southern Mali during rebellion in north

Joe Penney / Reuters

An artisanal gold miner peers up from a small-scale mine where he is working in Kalana, Mali on August 26.

Joe Penney / Reuters

Small-scale gold miners at work in Kalana.

Joe Penney / Reuters

Small-scale gold miner Bangale Sidibe, 29, poses for a picture with his pickaxe before heading to work in Kalana.

Joe Penney / Reuters

Amadou Dabo, a 46-year-old gold buyer, weighs gold he will buy from an artisanal miner in Kalana. Nearly 10,000 annual tourists visited Djenne, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, in previous years. Since Mali's coup d'etat in late March, after which Islamist rebels took control of the country's northern two-thirds, less than 20 tourists have come to Djenne, according to the local tourism board.

Reuters reports that Mali's key economic pillars, gold and cotton, are relatively untroubled by the rebellion in the country's northern desert since they're located in the south:

While Mali's economy has proven more robust than some anticipated, there are worries that if the country can't solve its political and security problems soon, a decline in foreign aid and new investment will accelerate.

The caretaker government in June said it expected a revenue shortfall of more than $1 billion due to suspended budget support from foreign partners like the United States and the European Union since the coup.

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