About Us

History of Our Plant

The discovery of silver in the Town of Cobalt in the early 1900s gave birth to many mines. Small operators had no refining, smelting or even milling facilities and relied exclusively on major mining companies for those services. Shippers of ore had no method of ensuring quality and representative sampling and accurate assaying of their production. This resulted in questionable premium formulas for product received.

In 1909, two engineers named Campbell and Deyell designed a method of sampling ores and concentrates. Through a process of comminution or fragmentation, they brought ores to a uniform blended mesh size allowing representative sampling and accurate assaying of large volumes of ores. Extracted metallic silver was poured into bullion bars and sold on the market.

The testing operation was successful until 1917 when failing silver prices slowed the flow of feed and made the enterprise uneconomical. There were many operators left in the area who still needed the service. As a consequence, the mining industry asked the provincial government to operate the plant. The industry's efforts were rewarded and the government assumed control through its Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway in 1919. In 1921, two years later, the Ontario Department of Mines (now MNDM) established the Temiskaming Testing Laboratory (TTL) in Cobalt to provide a specific service to the mine operators of the area. Because few of the individual mines were large enough to justify the cost of operating their own assay offices and other specialized equipment, it was decided that these services could be performed for all of them at a minimal cost. Since then it has been operated as a service to government agencies, exploration and mining companies. The TTL has maintained an excellent reputation for its bulk sampling and processing of ores, particularly silver ores.

The PolyMet facility was first constructed in September 1913, on the charred ground where the Cobalt Hotel once stood, at a cost of $37,000. The first level of the building contained a farmer's market that opened onto the station grounds. In May 1914, the four-storey concrete structure was completed. The bottom floor still contained a market hall and the main floor, which was entered from Presley Street, housed the municipal offices with council chambers, a courthouse, and a jail. On the top floor was a large assembly and dance hall complete with dressing rooms. The square tower on the southeast corner housed the town bell and was also used for drying the fire hoses. In 1941, the original Temiskaming Testing Laboratories, whose building had recently burned down, re-established in the quarters it occupies today on Presley Street in Cobalt. The building was extensively renovated and updated over the years by the Ministry of Northern Development & Mines as a technically advanced bulk sampling and testing station for minerals and precious metals.

The laboratory assayed and sampled all the high-grade ores and concentrates, shipped them to the smelters on behalf of the producers, and performed other similar services to keep the mines operational. In the 1990s the Ontario government decommissioned the operation due to reduced silver mining activity in the area, which no longer adequately supported its presence in the area. The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has since relocated its public services assay laboratory to Sudbury, Ontario, now operating under the name of Ontario Geoscience Laboratories.

Polymet Labs Inc. purchased the former TTL building in August 2000 and began its operation as an Assay Laboratory and Bulk Sampling, Crushing, Grinding, Processing, Upgrading and Smelting Plant.


Gino Chitaroni


Mr. Chitaroni is a lifelong resident of the Town of Cobalt, Ontario. He is a graduate of the Haileybury School of Mines, Northern College with a diploma as a Mining Technologist in 1985; and then later completed his Bachelor Science degree in Geology at Lake Superior State University in 1988. Mr. Chitaroni has extensive experience in the mining sector and as prospector since 1982. He has also worked as a miner with Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. in mid to late 1980's with a short stint as a student geological technician with Teck-Corona Corporation in Hemlo. In the early to late 1990's, he worked as a project geologist for EGO Resources Ltd-Cobatec Inc before forming Blackstone Development Inc. to handle the management of various exploration projects and economic development projects in the Temagami, Matachewan and Cobalt areas. In 2000, Mr. Chitaroni formed Polymet Labs and is President of the company to present day. In 2006, he and partners formed Legends of Cobalt Corporation in order to re-energize the Cobalt Mining Camp; and then again later in 2011, he and another set of partners created Canagco Mining Corp, acting as President, is active to present day in the Cobalt. He is also the President of Temagami Gold Inc. and Blackstone Development Inc. Moreover, Mr. Chitaroni is currently serving as the President of the Northern Prospectors Association and served as a long time town Councillor in the Town of Cobalt. Mr. Chitaroni’s family also owns and operates Portage Bay Lodge Tourist Camp in the Cobalt Area.

David Pinkney

Office Manager / Bookeeper

Mr. Pinkney was educated at Temiskaming District Secondary School and Canadore College in the Accounting and Business fields. Mr. Pinkney has held varies positions in the Accounting and Management fields including Brayford Chartered Accountants, Leisure Inn Motel, and Polymet Labs.

Louise Brière

Marketing Manager

Ms. Brière graduated with a certificate in Business Management from Ryerson University in 1998 and graduated with honors with a diploma in the Office Administration Executive Bilingual Program at Seneca College, North York Campus in 1992. Ms. Brière began her career as an Executive Assistant for the Department of Canadian Heritage and held other various positions for the provincial and municipal government, non-profit and private organizations in Toronto before moving to Temiskaming Shores in 2003. She immediately began working as the Nutrition Coordinator for the Centre de Santé Communautaire du Témiskaming promoting healthy eating, giving recipe demonstrations and coordinated the Breakfast for Learning Program within the district. She moved on to become the Executive Assistant to the President and Sales team at Wabi Iron & Steel where she also held fundraising activities for the Canadian Mental Health Programs to eliminate stigma towards mental health. During that time, Ms. Brière also served as a member of the Association Canadienne Française de l’Ontario (ACFO) to promote the French language in our community.

Who We Are

At Polymet Labs Inc., our plant facilities have the capability of crushing, grinding and blending raw materials into a single homogeneous lot. The material is then weighed, measured, analyzed and metallurgically tested in the fire and chemical assay laboratory to identify the exact precious metal content.

Polymet Labs Inc. was formed in the fall of 1998 as an exploration company. After remaining dormant for a short time, in 2000, the company acquired the former TTL (Temiskaming Testing Laboratories) building and underwent extensive renovations, site/plant clean-up, repairs and upgrades. 

Today, the property is fully serviced with water, hydro, natural gas and has its own storage and weighing facilities inside the plant. The plant has access to the major trucking routes of Northern Ontario via Highway 11B to Highway 11 (the northern route of the Trans-Canada Highway system), and readily available rail access (ONR). Our loading docks are equipped and capable of handling transport trucks.

Our reputation for excellence in analytical services is owed to our team of professionals here at PolyMet, which include qualified assayers metallurgists, geologists, consultants, lab technicians, and friendly dedicated office staff. Each team member trained in ISO 9001 quality systems requirement plays a key role in quality assurance and handling of your samples and data.