Jakarta (ANTARA) - Member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are considering critical mineral collaboration for maintaining the region's energy security, a top official of Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Ministry has said.

Critical minerals will play a very vital and strategic role for all countries in supporting the energy transition from fossil to renewable energy, Director of Mineral and Coal Program Development at the ministry Tri Winarno said.

"Critical minerals are raw materials for the solar panel, wind turbines, and electric vehicle battery manufacturing industries," he noted at an ASEAN Energy Business Forum (AEBF) side event entitled "Critical Minerals: Opportunities And Challenges For ASEAN" in Nusa Dua Bali on Friday.

He said critical minerals are also used in new and renewable energy plants.

According to Winarno, critical minerals have a very high value because they are difficult to find, are extracted in economical quantities, and cannot be easily replaced with metals or other materials.

Given their importance and high value, the need for critical minerals will increase significantly, which will pose a challenge to ensuring critical mineral supplies at the global level, he said.

"Another challenge is how we can further explore existing critical mineral resources with the geological setting in the ASEAN region," he said.

Yet another challenge is mineral downstreaming, wherein ASEAN countries must master mineral refining technology to support material downstreaming, he added.

Therefore, collaboration is needed to answer these challenges, considering that several ASEAN countries have several types of mineral deposits.

He said that ASEAN needs to share best practices and policies, identify key areas, and maximize natural resources and reserves.

"Also, discussing opportunities for greater regional cooperation, with the aim of unlocking the potential critical minerals in the region," he added.

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Translator: Kelik D, Kenzu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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