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 thin seams, with some nugget
formations. According to the current owner, the turquoise that has
formed in thin seams is high grade with better, deeper blue-green
colors. Most Pilot Mountain turquoise is called “grass roots,” meaning
the best deposits are found within ten feet of the surface.