The oversupply is also expected to keep prices depressed for some time.
"It is going to take more than five years for the industry to come back into balance," Porco said.
Currency markets are also hindering U.S. producers.
Australia is the largest producer of metallurgical coal, exporting more than double what the United States exports in a given year.
The Australian dollar has been consistently weakening this year, falling more than 11 percent since January, making that country's coal exports cheaper compared to the United States.
Add in higher transportation costs from the United States, and that makes it even tougher for domestic exporters to compete in the Asian market.
That will mean tough times for firms that hope to export more coal in the next year.
"It's going to be survival of the fittest, and it's the low-cost producer that's going to survive," Zervos said.
Zervos said the good news is that world steel production is still expected to increase by 35 percent by 2020. Once the current oversupply is worked through, he said the region should be in a good position.
He said one recent study his company commissioned estimated West Virginia has about 13.5 billion tons of coal in reserve, which could continue to supply world markets for years to come.
"We've got 100 years-plus of coal available that we can mine, we just need a climate where we can compete," Zervos said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.Other Business HeadlinesKroger donates $32,000 to food bank