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Australia Lets Prospector Keep Gold

May 5, 2000

PERTH, Australia (AP) _ A state supreme court ruled Friday that a taxi driver and amateur prospector could keep the 14 1/2-pound gold nugget he had unearthed on someone else’s land.

George Dimitrovski found the nugget, valued at $590,000, five years ago while prospecting near Marble Bar, 750 miles north of the West Australia state capital of Perth.

Landowner Frank Welsh complained to police that Dimitrovski had been prospecting illegally on his property. Welsh became aware of the find after Dimitrovski took the nugget into a local bar to boast.

Dimitrovski, 52, was charged with unlawful possession, and the gold was confiscated and stored in a vault in Perth’s mint.

After a series of court hearings, West Australian Supreme Court Judge Graeme Scott upheld a lower court decision throwing out the prosecution’s case.

Dimitrovski said Friday he would not sell the nugget.

``I want to put it on display at the Sydney Olympics and try to get some sort of cover charge on it and give it toward a charity,″ he said.

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