Explorer Novo Litio is trying a different plan of attack to protect its interests in a Portugal lithium project after a local court refused to speed up proceedings.

Novo (ASX:NLI) told investors “such a long period of uncertainty is not in the interest of either Novo Litio or [Portuguese project vendor] Lusorecursos”.

The company is now trying to resolve the dispute outside of court.

“Novo Litio has recently been making a concerted effort to engage with Lusorecursos on a without-prejudice basis to resolve the matter outside of the legal process,” the company said.

But Novo still plans to pursue its legal rights if it can’t resolve the dispute commercially.

The company launched legal action against privately-owned exploration junior Lusorecursos in September.

Novo inked a binding deal with Lusorecursos in June 2016 to acquire a tenement package over the three most prospective areas for spodumene and petalite-hosted lithium in Portugal.

The company had been trying to get its hands on a mining licence application for the project before the current exploration licence expired on December 7. But Lusorecursos made it difficult for Novo to replace the existing exploration licence with a mining licence.

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Novo has cut costs to preserve its $16 million worth of cash and is now on the hunt for a new project.

The company is also reviewing its Spodumenberget lithium project in Sweden before committing to a maiden drilling program.

Novo has been contacted for comment.