A former minister of mines of Guinea,Mahmoud Thiam has told Bloomberg that the head of Rio Tinto’s Guinea operation, Steven Din, offered him a bribe six years ago.
He said the bribe was to win back control of half of the undeveloped Simandou project.
The project is considered the world’s biggest untapped iron ore deposit.
According to the former minister, Din was attempting to regain control of the blocks from billionaire investor Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources Ltd.
Din however denies this allegation.
Meanwhile, Rio Tinto Mining company has fired two of its senior managers after a questionable $10.5million payment to a consultant.
The payment made by the Anglo-Australian company was supposedly used to help secure right to a giant ore project in Guinea Conakry.
Already, law enforcement authorities in UK, US and Australia are evaluating the case.The company will face charges if found corruption.
The incumbent Guinean minister of mines and geology Abdoulaye MA has requested Rio Tinto to transmit all the information these procedures could reveal.
The controversy on the Simandou project dates back to 2008 during the former president Lassana Conte’s administration, who took the decision to withdraw half of BSGR, Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources Ltd’s concessions of this site, in order to assign it to Rio Tinto.