Once upon a time -- well, about a year or so ago -- a certain South African gold miner became the apple of another South African gold miner's eye.

No, this isn't a rendition of BrokebackMountain with a Boer twist. It's just the introduction to a bit of a turnabout-is-fair-play tale that Gold Fields Limited (NYSE:GFI) is embroiled in. As you may recall from our series of stories on the company from late 2004 to mid-2005 (I'll leave the links at the end of the column in case you missed it), Gold Fields found itself recently pursued by an unwanted suitor named Harmony Gold Mining Company (NYSE:HMY). For months, Harmony tried every trick in the book to gain control over Gold Fields. It enlisted a fifth column within Gold Fields' shareholding community, in the form of Russian shareholder Norilsk Nickel. It fought a proxy war. It played the press like a fiddle and unleashed a hailstorm of press releases of its own. It even took its problems to the courts. But after months of fighting, its tender offer expired without sufficient shareholders having agreed to the price that Harmony was willing to pay. Gold Fields was free.

Fast-forward eight months, and today Gold Fields is the hunter, with Canada's Bolivar Gold the hunted. Of course, history never repeats itself exactly. When Gold Fields offered to pay $330 million to acquire its wintry peer a few weeks back, Bolivar was all for it. The board accepted Gold Fields' tender, pending shareholder approval, and encouraged Bolivar shareholders to vote "aye" at a meeting scheduled to take place today.

Gold Fields, in turn, went on a pre-vote buying spree. Already holding 9.9% of Bolivar's outstanding stock, plus warrants to acquire another 5.1%, Gold Fields purchased another 2.3% of Bolivar's shares on Dec. 12 and 2.3% more on Dec. 21. In between those two buys, however, major (19.1%) shareholder Scion Capital began encouraging its fellow shareholders to vote against Gold Fields' offer as being too miserly.

On Monday, Scion filed suit to block Gold Fields from voting its shares at today's shareholder vote on the acquisition, prompting Gold Fields to up its offer by 6.7% Wednesday. At last report, Scion still opposes the buyout, still calls the price too low, and still wants its day in court. The shareholder vote should proceed as scheduled today, but if it goes in Gold Fields' favor, Scion can be expected to fight to reverse that result in court at the scheduled hearing on Jan. 17.

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Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own any of the companies mentioned in this article.