We are an operator and developer of high-quality, low-cost metallurgical coal in central and southern West Virginia, southwestern Virginia, and southwestern Pennsylvania. We have a development portfolio of four long-lived projects: Elk Creek, Berwind, RAM Mine and Knox Creek.
We believe each of these projects possesses geologic and logistical advantages that will make our coal among the lowest delivered-cost U.S. domestic metallurgical coal to a majority of our domestic target customer base, U.S.-based blast furnace steel mills and U.S.-based coke plants, as well as international metallurgical coal consumers.
We began commercial production of metallurgical coal in the first quarter of 2017. Our production for 2017 totaled 548,000 clean tons of metallurgical coal. Production for 2018 will outpace 2017 and are expected to continue a steady increase through 2022. Additionally, we anticipate that the incidental production of thermal coal will generate up to 10% of our tons sold in any production year, and we may consider increasing our thermal coal operations in the future.
We believe that we will be able to take advantage of recent increases in U.S. and global benchmark metallurgical coal prices and intend to opportunistically increase the amount of our projected production that is directed to the export market to capture favorable differentials between domestic and global benchmark prices.