Texas Rare Earth Resources said that testing has indicated significant economic recoveries of scandium from the Round Top rhyolite.

RDI carried out initial column leach tests in Denver, Colorado in 2013. Texas Rare Earth adopted the heap leaching model to extract rare earth from the Round Top ore.

The company has since then reviewed the raw data to identify the potential of the trace elements, especially scandium.

Texas Rare Earth said the review of the 2013 solution analyses indicates that if the scandium present in the leach solutions were recovered it would produce an expected 5,400 kilograms of scandium oxide per year in the 20,000 tonnes per day operation at Round Top property.

The company undertook further leaching in 8-inch columns installed at the K-Tech lab in Lakeland, Florida. It was aimed at producing a primary leach solution (PLS) for continuous ion exchange and continuous ion chromatography testing.

Analysis of the PLS has also shown potential recovery of scandium at greater levels.

Texas Rare Earth Resources CEO Dan Gorski said: "Although the production of heavy rare earths is the primary objective at Round Top, the numerous other elements being recovered in leaching of this rock are proving to make a significant contribution to the potential revenue stream.

"To date, uranium, lithium, beryllium and now scandium show promise of being valuable by-products. Scandium in particular is significant because of its strategic nature, lack of a domestic supply and limited worldwide production."