The effects of external and internal mass transport limitations on zinc and cadmium adsorption onto the porous amorphous aluminium oxide/solution interfaces were studied. A modified two-stage rate model was used to interpret the experimental results. The rapid stage results from external surface film diffusion and internal diffusion into the near surface pores. The slow stage results from internal mass transport and extends over several days. The mass transfer-adsorption coefficients of the rapid stage are almost two orders of magnitude larger than those of the slow stage. The external mass transfer coefficients show an increasing trend with increasing pH, and appear to be affected by the charge/potential condition of the oxide/solution interface. The internal mass transfer coefficients indicate a uniform trend for both the zinc and cadmium results. The desorption rates and final metal ion solution concentrations are affected by the bulk solution pH. Film diffusion and internal diffusion are affected by the higher relative ratio of metal ion concentration to adsorbent concentration.