|The capability of soil fines to fix harmful elements, e.g. heavy metals and arsenic, depends on specific surface area and other characteristics, such as surface charge. In the pH-range typical of natural waters (pH 5,5-7,5), the surfaces of fine-grained silicate particles and manganese oxides are negatively charged; consequently cations, such as heavy metals, fix effectively to them. The iron oxide surfaces are usually positively charged and typically fix anions, such as sulphate and arsenate. Retention of anions is especially extensive to precipitates formed from acid mine drainage (pH 2,5-5,0). For example, precipitates found at Paroistenjarvi mine, Finland, contain more than 70 g/kg of arsenic (dry matter). Adsorbed anions, e.g. sulphate, enhance the capacity of precipitate to fix heavy metal cations in low-pH environments.