Coconut shells are the most widely used raw material for the production of activated carbon suitable for gold production by cyanide leaching. However, increasing gold production is likely to necessitate the exploitation of other sources. Abundance and ready availability of hazelnut shells, apricot and peach stones make them a viable candidate for an alternative source. In this study, activated carbons made of these materials have been tested to determine their suitability for gold metallurgy. Parameters of carbonization and activation have been optimized. Gold loading capacity and adsorption kinetics have been studied. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.