A New South Wales corruption inquiry has heard former union official John Maitland tried to drum up community support for a controversial mining licence that he was granted without a tender.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is investigating allegations former New South Wales Labor minister Ian Macdonald 'gifted' the Doyles Creek licence to John Maitland in 2008 against the advice of his department.

A public inquiry has heard that although John Maitland promoted the project as a training mine it was really designed to benefit Mr Maitland and a small group of entrepreneurs.

The ICAC alleges that after investing $165,000 in the project Mr Maitland profited $15 million three years later.

Richard Jones, the General Manager of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter in the Hunter region, denied being part of a 'strategy' by John Maitland to build a case supporting a training mine at Doyles Creek.

But he acknowledged that John Maitland had provided an outline of a letter backing the mine proposal.

He said that at a meeting, Doyles Creek officials suggested that doctors and other medical staff could be involved in the training mine.

But Mr Jones said the rescue helicopter is only involved in training medical staff to work safely around helicopters.

"That's the extent of it," he said.