The phosphate adsorption properties of three clay samples, with kaolinite as the dominant mineral, from different deposits in the Ivory Coast have been investigated. The clays contain varying amounts of crystalline Fe oxides and kaolinite with structural Fe. All measurements were made in dilute suspension under controlled conditions of temperature, pH, ionic strength and saturating cation. Data have been fitted to Langmuir adsorption isotherms. Both P adsorption and surface area measurements have been made on samples before and after chemical removal of Fe oxides. The samples have large P adsorption capacities, which are not entirely explained by their large specific surface areas. The presence of Fe oxides makes a strong contribution to the surface area and enhances the adsorption capacities. There is little evidence that structural Fe makes a strong contribution to the enhanced P adsorption capacity.