PANA mine was discovered in the summer of 2010 by David Wheatley and Randy Reinikka. 9 full size 20.6-acre claims were filed over the entire Little Eagle Butte hill and the surrounding areas.
The area of Little Eagle Butte was later coined "Butte Basin" by certain Gem TV stations and gems coming out of this new mine were labeled "Butte Sunstones". Catchy, but not exactly accurate.
Geology of Little Eagle Butte (PANA Mine and Sunstone Butte mine) is completely different from geology of the Rabbit Basin where all the other mines in the area are located. Rabbit Basin Sunstone deposits were created by violent volcanic activity during the Miocene epoch some 15 - 17 millions years ago. Each volcanic eruption created a new layer of lava spreading all across the Rabbit Basin area. Local miners must first blast thru up to 15-20 feet of bedrock before reaching the Sunstone bearing layers. This process is both very labour intensive and very expensive.
In contrary to this, PANA Mine and Sunstone Butte mine is laying on top of ancient volcano. Gemstones found in PANA Mine formed over time within a large magma chamber of calcium-rich magma that cooled very slowly. This process allowed for creation of gem crystals of exceptional quality, sizes and colors.
The volcanic cinder at PANA mine is fairly soft, mining is therefore easy and relatively fast compared to mining process used in Rabbit Basin.
Since 2011-2012 PANA mine started producing top gemmy Cuprian Labradorite Sunstone crystals in absolutely mind blowing colors and sizes. These Cuprian Oregon Sunstones include colors like: Chrome Green, Peacock Blue-Green, Grass Green, Blue-Teal, Purplish-Teal, many with a dichroic shift to intense Pink, Orange-Pink (some Padparadscha-like), vivid Orange, and several types of Red including the most valued "neon" Red and “Spinel” Red.
Certain gems produced in PANA mine are bi-color to multi-color while being dichroic or trichroic at the same time! Faceted gems can therefore display 2 or more distinctively different colors.