MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — The National Energy Technology Laboratory has announced a $644,000 research grant to West Virginia University to continue its research on recovering rare earth elements from coal and its byproducts.

The West Virginia Water Research Institute at WVU has led research since February 2016 across four projects applying $4.46 million in federal and $1.13 million in industry funds.

It includes building a pilot scale processing plant on the WVU Evansdale campus.

According to the university, the new grant will allow the research team to develop processes for upstream extraction at the mine discharge point where coal operators are required to treat acid mine drainage, the most abundant pollutant in West Virginia waters.

The research is aimed at establishing a commercial process for recovering valuable rare earth elements from the drainage.