Friday, January 22, 2021
Home Covid-19 Thai women gold panners find bright spot in COVID-ravaged economy | Coronavirus...

Thai women gold panners find bright spot in COVID-ravaged economy | Coronavirus pandemic News


#Many women who used to sell vegetables and food to tourists have turned to panning as gold prices near an all-time high.

#As the yellowish mud swirls away in the waters of #Thailand’s #Sai #Buri river, #Sunisa #Srisuwanno lifts her wooden pan with a cluster of gleaming specks caught in the centre.

“That’s 100 baht,” she said, pointing to grains worth about $3.30 after little more than 15 minutes work with her gold panning partner, #Boonsom #Aeamprasert.

- Advertisement -

#With global gold prices near an all-time high, the women are a rare bright spot for an economy hard hit by the collapse of tourism amid coronavirus travel restrictions.

“The gold panning business is doing well, especially during COVID-19,” said #Sunisa, a 37-year-old mother of two. “Panning gold is our main staple. #We sell gold today, we are able to buy food to feed the family.”

The area’s name – #Gold #Mountain – indicates that mining has gone on longer than anyone can remember in #Sukhirin #District, on #Thailand’s southern border with #Malaysia.

#But it has been made more lucrative by rising gold prices, up nearly a quarter over the past year.

The rest of #Thailand’s economy is suffering, with the central bank forecasting a 6.6-percent contraction this year.

#Thailand’s deep south, scene of a decades-old #Muslim separatist armed uprising, lacks the beach resorts, nightlife or temples that draw so many tourists to the country.

#Sunisa holds up gold worth 3,000 baht ($100) from the #Sai #Buri #River [File: Matthew Tostevin/Reuters]
- Advertisement -

#But visitors who come to #Sukhirin for hiking, kayaking and wildlife are still an important income source – at least until the pandemic struck.

“As the community was forced to shut down the attractions, we had to switch from welcoming tourists to digging and sifting for gold,” said #Wari #Bantakit, 40, who works for a community tourism group.

#Some gold sifters use just a shovel, a pan and a plastic squeezy bottle to suck up the grains – and the occasional nugget. #Others try to find the best prospects by scrabbling underwater with a snorkel mask.

There are men among the gold panners, but miners said the draw of gold is particularly appealing for women. #Men traditionally gather wood and forage in the forests.

“Housewives who used to sell stuff, vegetables, food to tourists were forced to stop,” said #Wari. “They had to turn to gold panning. #It’s become the main job.”





[ source link ]
https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2020/12/30/thai-women-gold-panners-rare-bright-spot-in-covid-ravaged-economy

##Thai #women #gold #panners #find #bright #spot #COVIDravaged #economy ##Coronavirus #pandemic ##News

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments