Phosphate explorer Celamin has won a case in the international arbitration court against its former joint venture partner following an allegedly unapproved transfer of shares.

Tunisia-focused Celamin (ASX:CNL) will be awarded more than $US4 million ($5.25 million) in damages and costs and will get back its stake in a joint venture that was transferred to Tunisian Mining Services (TMS).

Celamin took legal action against TMS in 2015, after a 51 per cent shareholding in the Chaketma Phosphate Project was allegedly transferred without board approval.

“In March 2015, and without warning, Celamin discovered that TMS had transferred all of Celamin’s shares in the joint venture company out of Celamin’s name and into their own claiming that Celamin had defaulted on payment of a cash call, Celamin told shareholders in an ASX announcement.

“This is despite Celamin paying the required $US2 million cash call before its due date, with official receipt from CPSA’s bank. TMS has claimed the wrong Celamin subsidiary company paid the cash call as a basis for instructing the Director General of CPSA to declare the default.”

Despite the results, Celamin remained concerned about  further implications and negative perceptions of doing business in the North African country.

“To date, Celamin has spent $US8.6m on the Chaketma project, as its exclusive funder, and TMS has spent nothing,” Celamin chairman Martin Broome said.

Celamin’s shares have been suspended throughout the course of the arbitration, since March 4, 2015. But the company has previously said it would continue to explore the area after the resolution.

“The Board continued to review new project opportunities, including new projects in Tunisia, and potential transactions with a view to identifying projects and/or transactions that have the ability to add shareholder value,” it told shareholders in its October quarterly.

“This review is ongoing. Celamin has secured an exclusive option on two exploration permits in South-West Tunisia prospective for potash and salt and has also made other applications for base metal exploration permits.”