Oregon Sunstone Fee Digging

Found by Jon C. DeMars June 2014.

Come dig with us!
The 2020 Fee Digging Season is Open!

The new ore that can be screened for a fee is the same ore that we are processing. It has not been high-graded and stones from 100 to 300+ carats have come from this pit. The mine is known for its exceptionally large stones as well as its red/green bicolor, watermelon, dichroic, and color-change stones.

Days and Hours of Operations

The Dust Devil Mine is open year round except for Dec. 22 to 28.

Directions

If you have a GPS and know how to download a waypoint file, you can use these files to find your way from Plush or from Highway 395 North of Lakeview.

Comma-delimited text file from Plush
Comma-delimited text file from Hwy 395

For everyone else, read our full driving directions guide.

Pricing

Fee-digging prices are based on the wholesale rates that we charge dealers.

There is no fee for digging.

You will be charged 50% of the wholesale value of better colored stones and clear stones that will cut over 8 carats. We deduct for any unusable portions of stones. Because we do not charge for clear unless it will cut over 8 carats or for very light schiller, most people will take many nice stones for FREE.

When you are finished digging, we will grade and sort your stones, charging you for the higher grade material. You are NOT obligated to purchase any stones that you do not want to take.

Belt picking is available this year. Same prices apply.

There is no limit to the amount of time you can spend on the belt unless others are waiting. We will take reservations for belt picking times. We reserve the right to limit time on the belt for those wanting only to high grade. There is a charge of $60 for fuel for a belt run. This is to cover our additional costs for running the loader, generator and one or two people to run the belt. The same pricing structure of 50% of wholesale for higher-quality stones applies to belt runs.

Note to Dealers

We reserve the right to refuse access to dealers as our way of ensuring that quality rough is always available to rockhounds and hobbyist cutters.

New to Oregon Sunstone Mining?

We have some handy tips in our Sunstone Mining 101 guide, including what to bring, prospecting etiquette, digging tips, and screening tips.

Where to Stay

Camping

You are welcome to camp at our mine. We have several camp trailers available for free. These are sleeping trailers only. We do take reservations for the trailers. We have six DEQ approved out-houses. We love to potluck. See the "Camp Life" section below to learn more about camping with us.

Camping is allowed in the Sunstone Gem Collection Area just across the road from the Dust Devil Mine. The only amenity at this location is a pit toilet.

Camping is also allowed at Hart Mountain Hot Springs. Pit toilets are available and potable water is only 4 miles away at refuge headquarters.

There is a campground at the warm springs in Virgin Valley.

RV Parks

Hunter's Hot Springs RV park is located in Lakeview.

Summer Lake Hot Springs RV Park (541-943-3931) is located about forty-five miles north of Valley Falls on Highway 31.

There is an RV park in Adel and one at the warm springs in Virgin Valley.

Hotel/Resort

There are several motels in Lakeview as well as lodging at Hunter's Hot Springs Resort.

On the edge of Summer Lake, forty-five miles north of Valley Falls on Highway 31, you will find the beautiful Summer Lake Inn(1-800-261-2778).

Camp Life

Dust Devil Mining is more of a way of life than a business. While we take business very seriously, it has to be fun or we wouldn't be doing it. To make it fun for as many people as possible, we have a few things that are important to us.

1. Absolutely no illegal drugs. You will be asked to leave.

2. Light consumption of alcohol by persons over 21 is fine. If you get drunk and obnoxious we will ask you to go to your accommodations and sleep it off. Drinking is only allowed in non production areas as marked. Drinking in production areas could get us a MSHA fine that could put us out of business.

3. Please no profanity. We have a family oriented camp and want everyone to feel at home at the mine.

4. We recycle. We have separate containers for returnables, glass, metal and cardboard. Please sort your garbage and don't put anything in the garbage trailer that can be recycled.

5. Smokers please stay down wind from gathering places in camp. Please check with us to determine fire regulations. During high fire ratings smoking may be only allowed in your vehicle.

6. Please feel free to join in camp life. We enjoy getting to know new people and have made many great friends over the years.

7. Our most import rules are, Don't get hurt, and have fun.