A corruption inquiry has heard that former New South Wales Labor minister Ian Macdonald pressured the former head of the NSW Minerals Council to support the Doyles Creek mine in the Hunter Valley.
Dr Nicole Williams told the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) she felt she was under intense pressure when Ian Macdonald phoned her at home at 7.30 one morning and again on a Sunday night in 2008, when she was the minerals council CEO.
She said the after-hours calls were highly unusual and she had never before been lobbied to support something by a minister.
"If you publicly disagree with a minister on something he's very keen to pursue there could be consequences," she said.
Dr Williams said Ian Macdonald's enthusiasm for the Doyles Creek project when he was in parliament was matched only by his enthusiasm for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to travel to country areas.
She said that before she was approached by Ian Macdonald, former union boss John Maitland requested meetings with her to try to promote the project as a training mine.
Dr Williams, who is now the CEO of the Coal Association, said she was concerned about how a training mine at Doyles Creek would be funded because Mr Maitland had suggested using mining industry superannuation funds to get it up and running.
The ICAC is investigating allegations Ian Macdonald "gifted" the licence to John Maitland without a tender because they were friends.
The inquiry has previously heard after an initial outlay of $165,000 Mr Maitland made $15 million from the project three years later.
Another witness, Jerrys Plains farmer Ian Moore gave evidence about community meetings in which concern was expressed about the Doyles Creek mine.
He said he went to one meeting attended by John Maitland after seeing a flyer about it
Mr Moore said the community was promised a new supermarket, accommodation and a percentage of mine profits at the meeting.
The inquiry continues.