Farmer ‘indicated’ after court win against BHP

Lanai Vasek; 9/3/10

When Les Alcorn decided he wanted to take the world’s largest mining company to court, he knew it wouldn’t be easy. He also knew he and his wife, Margaret, would need the full support of the local community to protect their farm of 37 years from BHP Billiton’s exploration plans. Yesterday, Mr Alcorn’s worries turned to celebration as the 75-year-old cattle farmer from Quirindi, on the Liverpool Plains in NSW’s mid-north, savoured a landmark decision handed down in the Supreme Court on Friday. Judge Monika Schmidt found that BHP’s licences to explore for coal on two farms in the region – the Alcorns’ and the family farm of Geoff and Sharon Brown – were invalid because the company had not consulted other landholders: the banks. “I feel vindicated,” Mr Alcorn told The Australian yesterday.