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Judge fines Ky. mine over hazardous conditions

LONDON, Ky. (AP) -- A federal judge has imposed a $150,000 fine against an eastern Kentucky coal mine where a worker was killed two years ago in a roof fall.

The judgment filed this week in London says Manalapan Mining Co. has also received three years of probation along with the fine for allowing miners to work in hazardous conditions.

The U.S. attorney's office says the fine is the highest imposed on a mining company in 20 years in the Eastern District of Kentucky.

"These were not just paper violations — Manalapan's actions put its employees at greater risk while engaged in an already dangerous occupation," U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said in a statement.

During the probation period, an officer will visit the mine to observe business practices, and the company is barred from selling or transferring assets without notifying the officer.

Three former officials who worked at the company's P-1 Mine in Harlan County were also fined for violating safety standards. Mine foreman Bryant Massingale, mine superintendent Joseph Miniard and operations manager Jefferson Davis were charged with the federal violations. Massingale and Miniard were fined $3,000 each and given three years of probation, including some home incarceration or confinement. Davis was fined $5,000 and given three years of probation.

Miner David Partin was killed in an underground collapse at the mine in June 2011.

Manalapan will pay $5,000 a month over three years to satisfy the fine, according to the Monday judgment by U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove.