Port Kembla steelmaker BHP has been reported to a Royal Commission into the building industry over allegations it copied confidential construction documents.
Tony Hamod, manager of Nowra-based company Metalwash Engineering had made the complaint to the Royal Commission into Productivity in the NSW Building Industry.
Mr Hamod said his company had been negotiating for pollution control contracts worth more than $6 million and that it was the company's first time dealing with BHP's Port Kembla steelworks.
After failing to get the contract, he alleged BHP copied parts of Metalwash's confidential documents - including drawings of equipment - and distributed them to others.
He also alleged representatives from a rival bidder Thiess Contractors were present at meeting where he discussed his offer - though he didn't know they were there.
"It is industry practice that such information is confidential and, indeed, it is not uncommon to have it accompanied by a written undertaking of confidentiality," Mr Hamod said in his report lodged with the Royal Commission.
"It is totally inconceivable that we would explain drawings or provide data to anyone other than a prospective purchaser."
BHP refused to discuss any aspects of the potential contract with Metalwash to the Illawarra Mercury, but a Thiess manager said there wasn't anything unusual in its employees attending BHP meetings.
However, BHP did confirm it had been served a damages claim by Metalwash but didn't think it had any substance.
This was despite a hearing between both parties the week before at the Australian Commercial Disputes Centre, where BHP offered to pay $150,000 in compensation.
At that same hearing a BHP representative admitted that it "appears clear Mr Hamod had not been dealt with in an efficient and business-like manner".
A BHP spokesman said there had been no contact with Mr Hamod since the hearing at the centre.
However the Nowra businessman presented documents sent just days ago from BHP's senior legal officer.
That letter continued to hold out hope that "some way may still be found to resolve the matter on a sensible basis".
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