Western Star Mine
The Western Star Mine consists of one (1) unpatented lode mining claim, covering 20.66 acres, on federal land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Western Star is located in the Pilot Peak district, along the eastern edge of Elko County, Nevada.
Western Star has two mapped mine shafts and one adit (unmapped) with some relic equipment (see pictures).
The Western Star Mine is located in Elko County, Nevada home to some famous large (+1 mill ounce) gold mines including Rain, Leeville, Marlboro Canyon, Generator Hill, Kinsley Mountain and Long Canyon.
Location and Access: From I-80 E heading out of West Wendover, take Exit 4 towards Bonneville Speedway. Turn left onto N Bonneville Speedway Rd and continue straight onto Leppy Pass Rd. Take a slight left at N Silver Is Rd and travel 9.5 miles before turning left. Another left, 5 miles later, will take you to the lower hills around Pilot Peak. From here, access is limited to backroads and washes to get up to the claim.
GPS Coordinates: Lat: 40.974939° Long: -114.090507° (Main Shaft)
Mining and Exploration Potential: There are some good quartz and heavily altered limestone replacement ore at the workings. The veins outcrop visibly and are easy to locate.
Just mapping the existing veins and extending them with a small trenching program would add lots of value.
But – there are bigger exploration opportunities as well:
Western Star is on a shale-limestone contact that has been very productive for gold and silver deposits in Northern Nevada.
There are extensive faults and fissures on the property which are mineralized. Sampling these should be a priority.
There are small volcanic intrusives scattered throughout the district which are probably related to the mineralization.
Locating additional intrusives and mapping them could lead to a discovery. The contact zone between volcanic and sedimentary rocks (quartz monzonite / limestones-shales) has been a great place to find high grade gold veins.
Northern Nevada is also known for large gold deposits that sit beneath high grade silver-lead-zinc deposits. Nearby Spruce Mountain and TUG both had discoveries of this type. The old-timers often focused on the surface geology and failed to explore deeper.
Many of the nearby mountain ranges have made 1M ounce gold discoveries by looking at these old silver mines.
Mag surveys and EM surveys are capable of finding some of these deposits inexpensively.
One potential business plan for this property is to develop a soil or geophysical anomaly and sell it to a larger mining company to drill.
Alternatively, finding some high grade veins and turning this into a small production operation is viable too.
The Pilot Peak District is a relatively small district that is sandwiched between some high producing districts. The District covers the Pilot Mountains on the Nevada-Utah border of which Pilot Peak is the tallest point.
Pilot Peak served as a landmark for emigrants crossing the Utah salt flats on their way to California. The peak was named by John C. Fremont, a famous Western explorer, in 1841.
The Pilot Peak Mine, was the first mine on Pilot Peak – started sometime in the 1860’s. In 1878 a silver discovery was made by Walter Brown and the Pilot Peak Mining District was organized. His mines were the Thistle and the American Flag.
Activity was sporadic until 1908 when interest was revived in the mines. There was a brief period of activity and then the district was dormant until the 1930’s when several of the mines opened up and began producing – including the Western Star.
There are several prospects in the Pilot Peak District which were probably dated from the late 1800’s.
The Pilot Limestone Quarry was developed in the 1980’s by Continental Lime.
Recently, the area has been a hotspot for exploration due to the discovery of the Long Canyon gold deposit (2 mill gold ounces, bought by Newmont in 2011 for $2.33 billion).
The Pilot Peak District is just south of the Lucin District in Nevada / Utah which has very high-grade silver and copper deposits (+4% copper). The Tecoma District (30 miles north of Western Star) hosts the TUG deposit owned by Nevada Gold which had a resource of approximately 679,000 gold ounces and 13.8 mill. silver ounces in it’s last public filings.
Regional Geology: The Western Star Mine is located within the Basin and Range physiographic province. The Basin and Range province covers most of Nevada and consists of narrow NE trending mountain ranges between flat, arid valleys and basins.
Most of Eastern Nevada was part of the miogeosyncline during the Precambrian to Triassic Eras (+500 mya to 250 mya). Miogeosynclines are the passive margin of continents that accumulate sediments – which then become lithified. Tertiary volcanics intrude the older metasediments throughout the region. Some of these intrusives are associated with large gold and copper deposits.
District Geology: Pilot Peak itself is composed of Cambrian quartzite. The main country rocks are Paleozoic limestone that has been altered and extensively folded and faulted. There are extensive fracture zones which contain limonitic (iron oxide mineral) jasperoid and white calcite veining. This is consistent with mineralized hydrothermal fluids that could carry gold and silver.
Western Star is a vein and replacement mine with known production of silver, gold, zinc, lead, and copper. The known vein on this claim is a 5’ thick quartz displacement through silicified limestone. It trends N50°E and dips 55°NW. Galena, pyrite, and chalcopyrite minerals have been noted as well.
Brooks, Dutchover, “Western Star”, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 1980.
Hall, Shawn, “Old Heart of Nevada, Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Elko County,” University of Nevada Press, 1998.
Lapointe, Tingley, & Jones, “Bulletin 106: Mineral Resources of Elko County, Nevada,” Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 1991.
Lincoln, Francis Church, “Mining Districts and Mineral Resources of Nevada”, Nevada Publications. 1923. Pages 49.
Tingley, J.V., “Pilot Peak District Report”, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 1981.
“Pilot Peak Mining District”, Mindat.org, 2023.
“Western Star”, Mineral Resource Data System. 1981.
Woodward, Lee, “Stratigraphy and Correlation of Late Precambrian Rocks of Pilot Range, Elko County, Nevada, and Box Elder County, Utah”, The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 1967.
Nevada is consistently ranked as one of the top mining jurisdictions in the world for being mining-friendly and continuing to produce major discoveries. If Nevada was a country it would be the 5th largest gold producer in the world (after Australia, Canada, China, and Russia). Nevada is home to the Carlin Trend, the Cortez Trend, the Walker Lane Trend, the Getchell Trend and many other prolific gold producing regions. In addition to gold Nevada also has major mines producing silver, copper, lithium, iron ore, magnesium, gems and many other Elkos. Nevada is 85% owned by the federal government and most of this land is available for claim staking. This means some of the best mining ground in the world is open to small prospectors – a very unique situation. There are many mining companies active in Nevada and therefore, multiple potential buyers for any discovery you make. Canadian based junior exploration companies are particularly active in Nevada.
Why Buy a Claim?
Buying a claim is a great way to get started in mining and prospecting. Buying a claim that is professionally staked reduces your upfront work and the risk of making a mistake on your paperwork or in the field. Our claims are in areas with historical mining activity and most have numerous pits, shafts, and adits to explore. Finding these claims takes lots of research that is already done for you. The best place to find gold is where people have already found it!
I have been working in exploration in the southwestern United States and Alaska for 19 years. I have co-founded four junior mining companies and managed numerous drilling and exploration projects. I have worked with large and small mining companies and know what types of projects they are looking for that can be advanced by small prospectors. I have also worked on small hardrock production projects. I usually try to find claims that have known high grade veins that can be produced and that also have some exploration upside. We stand by our claims and fix any problems that come up. We can also help you with your annual filings. All our claims have a BLM serial number and can be found on the U.S. BLM MLRS website database. We hire the same professional claim staking companies that the large mining companies hire and all the claims have professionally drafted and accurate maps.
How is ownership of the claim transferred?
Ownership of mining claims is transferred with a Quit Claim Deed which we prepare. We pay all claim transfer fees and file the claim transfer paperwork with the BLM and Elko County. The BLM takes about 2-3 weeks to process the claim transfer (Quit Claim) and register the claim in your name. The Elko County Recorder usually take 1-2 weeks to return the recorded Quit Claim Deed. Once the transfer is complete we will send you all the original documents including the file stamped Quit Claim Deed, the original location notices and claim maps.
How Much are the Annual Claim Fees?
The BLM charges a $165 per claim annual maintenance fee which is due on September 1st each year. The BLM fees can be paid online through their claim management portal. Elko County requires that a Notice of Intent to Hold form is filed the first year by Nov 1st along with payment of the recording fee of $10 plus $12 per claim.
If you own less than 10 mining claims you can qualify for a waiver of the annual maintenance fee by filing a Small Miner’s Waiver. However, the Small Miner’s Waiver requires that you perform $100 in labor or improvements on the claim each year.
Claim fees for the 2022-23 assessment year have been paid.
International buyers must either have dual US citizenship and US address or have a US entity or company to own the claim.