Reagent-based selective separations of minerals are of great industrial importance. The basis of these separations is the competitive differential adsorption of the reagent onto a number of minerals. An X-ray photoelectron spectroscopic (XPS) study of the adsorption of polyacrylamide onto kaolin, feldspar and quartz is described. Initial data confirmed the utility of XPS for the study of polyacrylamide adsorption onto silica glass slides. Further results indicated the utility of the technique for the direct measurement of adsorption of polyacrylamide onto individual aliquots of kaolin, feldspar and quartz. Adsorption was relatively greatest onto kaolin. Feldspar displayed less adsorption and quartz very little. An imaging method was used to characterize, at least relatively, the competitive adsorption of polyacrylamide onto kaolin in the presence of mixtures of kaolin and quartz. This is a potential new technique for study of competitive adsorption.