The Pilot Mountain Mine is located in western Nevada, east of the small town of Mina. As with most turquoise mines, this mine opened as a copper claim. Pilot Mountain turquoise was first mined around 1930 as a tunnel mine. Then it became an open pit mine when heavy equipment was available around 1970. The current owners of the claim have been mining the turquoise since 1989. While Pilot Mountain is considered an active mine, it is a very small operation. The miners go to the mine twice per year, bringing out only about 150 to 200 lbs. of rough stone each time. One of the current owners says one of the interesting parts of mining is “not knowing what you are going to hit next.”
Pilot Mountain turquoise forms in hard veins with color ranging from bright blue to dark blue with a greenish cast. Dark brown limonite mottled patterns are associated with this material. Most Pilot Mountain turquoise is called “grass roots”, meaning the best deposits are found within ten feet of the surface.