"Through downstreaming and industrialization, natural resources are not only distributed in the form of raw materials, but also processed into various derivative products," he said in Jakarta on Friday.
Natural resource downstreaming could encourage Indonesia's sustainable economic growth and help it become a part of the global supply chain, Thohir added.
Indonesia has the potential to develop nickel and bauxite derivative products, he said. Based on data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), Indonesia controls 52 percent of the world's nickel reserves.
Potential nickel derivative products that can be developed include steel products, batteries, aircraft turbines, and automobiles. Meanwhile, Indonesia has the sixth largest reserves of bauxite in the world at around 1.2 billion tons, which can be developed into materials, industrial equipment, sports equipment, and furniture, he added.
The minister made the remarks during a dialogue entitled “Indonesia Financial Summit, UI Digital Talk,” at the Purnomo Prawiro Multipurpose Hall of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Indonesia, Depok, West Java.
During the dialogue, Thohir also discussed the opportunities and challenges faced in developing the Indonesian economy, which has grown by five percent every year. He said that the momentum of economic growth is predicted to only last until 2045.
This is because by 2038, the pyramid of Indonesia's population will start to turn upside down. Young people, who are currently under 35 years old, will pass their productive age in 2038.
According to him, Indonesia must have its own ecosystem or road map. Moreover, Indonesia's middle-class population is projected to swell to 145 million and continue to grow. This shows that market opportunities are getting wider and the proper management of natural resources will boost the economy and create more jobs.
"In this knowledge-based economy era, which is an era when economic growth is based on the ability to innovate, the most important thing is not natural resources and markets, but human resources," he stressed.
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