Two geologists from Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa, who were arrested for illegally prospecting for gold in Zimbabwe’s Nyanga Park and washing the ore in Nyangombe river, were acquitted by a local magistrate, New Zimbabwe writes.
The pair, Tension Hlatini (36) and Igor Shmakov (49), employed as a geologist and chief geologist, respectively, were freed by a local judge after a full trial.
Marutya said the State failed to provide enough evidence to incriminate the two.
They are being charged with prospecting for gold without a license as defined in Section 168(1) (a) of the Mines and Minerals Act or alternatively criminal trespass under section 132(1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
According to State papers, Hlatini and Shmakov were arrested by Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers on January 3. The duo was washing its gold ore at a section of Nyangombe River that is within the Nyanga national park.
Hlatini and Shmakov were asked to produce prospecting licenses which they failed to, leading to their arrest. The two were then taken to Nyanga police where they were formally charged.
In December, Alrosa and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) have signed a number of agreements to finalize the creation of a joint venture for prospecting and exploration works for primary diamond deposits in the African country.
According to the agreements, Alrosa, the largest diamond mining company in the world by volume, owns 70 percent of the Alrosa (Zimbabwe) Limited JV, with state-owned ZCDC getting 30 percent.