Former Greens leader says coalmine greenlight is not the end of the environmental battle 
Guardian staff

Former Greens leader Bob Brown joined a protest against the Adani mine outside the Indian High Commission in Canberra and vowed to take the protest to India.
 Former Greens leader Bob Brown joined a protest against the Adani mine outside the Indian High Commission in Canberra and vowed to take the protest to India. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Former Greens leader Bob Brown is undeterred in his campaign to stop the Adani coal mine in central Queensland, warning “we will make this international” at a protest in Canberra.

Queensland’s environment department on Thursday signed off on the company’s plan to manage groundwater on and around its Galilee Basin mine site, allowing it to begin work on its Carmichael coal mine.

But this hasn’t halted the “Stop Adani” protests, with some 200 campaigners holding a vigil outside the Indian High Commission on Saturday.

Labor’s poor election showing in Queensland was blamed partly on Brown and his anti-Adani convoy, with locals viewing their protests in the region as the south telling the north what to do.

“This is hogwash,” said Brown before addressing his supporters.

“The biggest person telling Queenslanders what to do here is Gautam Adani. He’s pulling the strings from over in India on a stack of politicians and media.”

He said the election result and the go-ahead for mine construction would not spell the end of the anti-Adani protests.

“We will make this international,” the former senator pledged.

The group was protesting outside the Indian High Commission because the high commissioner Ajay Gondane had called for the Adani mine to go ahead.

“Now if the Indian high commissioner here is dancing to the tune of Gautum Adani, if he wants to interfere in Australian domestic affairs, let me tell you high commissioner, we will interfere in your Indian domestic affairs,” he said to cheers from his supporters.

He said the Adani company has an appalling record of environmental destruction and corruption overseas, particularly in its home country of India and the forested areas inhabited by the Gond peoples.

“This brute of a billionaire is riding right over the top of them,” Brown said.

The groundwater approval means Adani will now be able to begin preliminary work, such as land-clearing and road access development at its mine site.

But it still requires other federal environmental approvals before it can begin extracting coal. Other aspects of the project, such as a royalties agreement, are also yet to be finalised.