Texas Rare Earth Resources (OTCMKTS:TRER) announced a key advancement in the development of its rare earth element (REE) separation process on Tuesday. Using its continuous ion chromatography (CIC) methodology, K-Technologies has removed much of the rare earths lanthanum and cerium from a pregnant leach solution. The solution was produced using ore from Texas Rare Earth's Round Top deposit, which has not yet been developed. The achievement marks the completion of the first phase of the second stage of process development — designed to first remove lanthanum and cerium from the solution — and the company's release states that the resulting product can be processed to make a "commercially marketable mid/heavy (MH) rare earth mixed concentrate." Overall, after this phase of K-tech's procedure is used, lanthanum and cerium make up less than 8 percent of total rare earths present in the stream. Meanwhile, more valuable REEs such as praseodymium, neodymium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium make up 68 percent of the product stream. That's an important consideration as cerium and lanthanum have been pegged as being vastly oversupplied by market watchers, and they garner relatively cheap prices relative to other rare earths. In fact, Ryan Castilloux of Adamas Intelligence has previously suggested companies would be wise to simply treat cerium as a waste product, since the the metal's low price "does not warrant the cost of separation and purification." "Removing the low value lanthanum and cerium at an early stage with minimal separation effort bodes well for the overall efficiency and economy of this process and also provides us the option of making a marketable, praseodymium/neodymium plus mid/heavy rare earth concentrate," said Texas Rare Earth CEO Dan Gorski in Tuesday's release.