The surface of chalcopyrite was studied in situ in aqueous solution by an atomic force microscopy (AFM). The AFM images showed that some absorbate in patches was detected on the mineral surface, after the chalcopyrite sample was soaked in 5×10-4M potassium ethyl xanthate (KEX) solution at pH 11 for 10 minutes. These patches increased in size with time elapsing. At the same time, as shown by the obtained AFM force curves, the adhesion between the AFM tip and the substrate increased greatly due to the adsorption. Rinsing with ethanol removed the absorbate from the chalcopyrite surface, as well as the big adhesion observed in KEX solution.