Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered his cabinet ministers to set a target of reducing exports of unprocessed coal and accelerate plans to develop derivative industries for processing the fuel in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest thermal coal exporter, should quickly develop a local industry to upgrade, liquefy and gasify its coal, the president said, urging ministers to determine the volume of output that could be used for such processing.

The Indonesian government aims to partially replace imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used by Indonesians as fuel with dimethyl ether (DME) made from coal.

Widodo also asked the cabinet ministers to come up with a roadmap for coal optimisation to boost the development of the domestic coal sector using environmentally-friendly technologies.

Indonesia has been seeking to squeeze more value out of its rich mineral resources ranging from copper to nickel by processing raw materials at home.

State-controlled coal miner PT Bukit Asam is currently building a coal gasification plant which is due to produce 1.4 million tonnes of DME per year from 2025.

Indonesia produced 610 million tonnes of coal last year and has targeted 550 million tonnes in 2020. Most of Indonesia’s coal is exported, with the rest mainly used in power generation.

Indonesia’s coal output reached 370 million tonnes in the first eight months of this year, or 67.3 percent of the yearly plan, according to the General Department of Minerals and Coal under the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources./.