BHP Billiton has announced an investigation into possible corruption involving government officials, but did not reveal where the violations may have occurred.
According to the company, the breaches did not involve China or its marketing or sales activities, but instead related to “certain terminated minerals exploration projects.”
The investigation is being conducted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and was announced today by BHP in its quarterly exploration and development report.
The miner said it had been co-operating with the Commission, following a request for information.
“The company has disclosed to relevant authorities evidence that it has uncovered regarding possible violations of applicable anti-corruption laws involving interactions with government officials,” the company said.
“Accordingly, the company is co-operating with the relevant authorities and is conducting an internal investigation, which is continuing.
“It is not possible at this time to predict the scope or duration of the investigation or its likely outcome.”
A company spokesperson later confirmed that the exploration projects of interest had all been terminated, with the last one wrapping up one year ago.
“They are in the past and are small investigation projects,” the spokesperson told AAP.
“They were terminated by us on commercial grounds, not because of any inquiries, just because they weren’t commercially viable and relatively small.”