Our Elk Creek project in southern West Virginia began production in the fourth quarter of 2016. When we acquired the Elk Creek project in 2012, we acquired rail access, permitted impoundment and coal refuse disposal facilities, as well as numerous reclaimed, but permitted, deep mines. We also acquired significant existing surface contour benches, which will enable surface and highwall mining.
The Elk Creek property consists of approximately 17,128 acres of controlled mineral and contains 24 seams that we have targeted for production. All contain high-quality metallurgical coal, are accessible above drainage and contain high-fluidity, high volatile metallurgical coals. We expect Elk Creek to produce approximately 925,000 clean tons of high volatile metallurgical coal (including coal tons from reserves on an adjacent property) in 2017 from two underground continuous-miner room-and-pillar operations and one surface contour and highwall miner operation in 2017 and an average of approximately 2.7 million clean tons per year from 2018 to 2027. Because of our expected higher than average clean tons per foot of advance (“CTPF”) for our deep mines, our low mining ratio for surface mines and highly productive highwall miner production, we expect our Elk Creek project will have a significantly lower cash cost-of-production per ton than many of our Appalachian metallurgical coal competitors.