BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, has said that China’s increasing demand for coking coal is sustainable, Bloomberg reported. Despite China’s imports of coking coal rising from 1 million metric tons last year to 30 million this year, Vicky Binns, head of commodity analysis at BHP, said that China’s imports only constitute 7% of the country’s total consumption. “China’s imports of coking coal look sustainable for a small proportion of their total requirements. We see this trend continuing,” she said. China accounted for 49% of crude steel output this year, up from 37% in the past two years, making it the largest producer of steel in the world. Binns said that increased production and better facilities at Chinese mills – including larger furnaces with higher environmental standards – would require higher quality, imported coking coal. Melbourne-based BHP is the largest producer of coking coal through its BHP Mitsubishi Alliance with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp.