A study of removal of Copper and Zinc from acidic mine effluents by means of chelating ion exchange resins has been carried out. The effluents having pH ranging from 1.7 to 1.9, contain mainly iron, copper and zinc and some other elements at much lower concentrations. The study includes chemical characterisation of effluents samples, the assessment of chelating resins and their selectivity for the separation of copper and zinc. Chelating resins containing either carboxylic, phosphoric or/and amine groups have been employed. The results obtained are correlated to the specific metal-complexing group attached to the polymer matrix. Resins containing carboxylate groups were found to provide most selective copper/zinc separations. A conceptual flowsheet of the separation process based on the data obtained for treating the effluents with different resins is presented. © 1991 Springer-Verlag.