UPDATE 2.20pm: Dispute-prone Aquila Resources has found itself embroiled in another row, this time concerning its Gravenhage manganese deposit in South Africa.
The company announced this morning it might be forced to take legal action over an alleged overlapping prospecting right over the project area.
Pan African Mineral Development Company (PAMDC), owned by the governments of South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, has claimed prospecting rights to the disputed area.
Aquila said the alleged overlapping prospecting right appeared, from the documentation, to have been granted to PAMDC on November 17, 2011, more than five years after a prospecting right over parts of the same areas was granted to its wholly-owned South African subsidiary.
"The alleged grant is also almost one year after the Gravenhage Mining Right Application was accepted by the South African Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), on December 22, 2010," Aquila said in a statement.
Aquila said discussions between it and the DMR and the South African Minister of Mineral Resources had failed to resolve the dispute.
It has subsequently written to the Minister requesting a formal decision on the grant of the Gravenhage Mining Right Application.
"Failing a positive decision, Aquila will take all necessary action to protect its rights, which may include an internal appeal under section 96 of the South African Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (2002), an injunction and judicial review proceedings," the company said.
"It is regrettable that Aquila now needs to consider legal action to protect the security of its tenure on the Gravenhage Manganese Deposit, having advanced the project since 2006 in accordance with all relevant laws and DMR requirements."
The Gravenhage manganese deposit is at the northern end of the company's Avontuur manganese project, which hosts a resource of 147.8 million tonnes at 38.2 per cent manganese.
In 2011, Aquila completed a definitive feasibility study on the Gravenhage deposit, which cited a resource of 20.2 million tonnes at 40.1 per cent manganese.Aquila shares closed flat at $2.20.