WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A New Zealand judge has ordered a coal mining company to pay compensation to the families of 29 miners killed in a 2010 methane explosion.
The families and two survivors of the explosion may receive only a fraction of their 110,000 New Zealand dollars ($86,000) individual compensation. That's because Pike River Coal went into bankruptcy soon after the explosion.
The company was convicted in April of nine health and safety violations. A government investigation found it had ignored 21 warnings that methane gas had accumulated to explosive levels in the South Island mine.
Judge Jane Farish slammed the company's actions in her ruling Friday. In addition to ordering compensation, she also fined the company NZ$760,000.
Former chief executive Peter Whittall faces 12 charges in a separate case.
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