A preconcentration method based on the use of an activated carbon column has been established for flame atomic absorption spectrometric determinations of gold, silver and palladium. The analytes were sorbed on the column as a complex of dithiophosphoric acid O,O-diethyl ester (DDTP). The sorbed analytes were eluted through the column with 2M NH3 in acetone. Quantitative recoveries (greater than or equal to 95 %) for gold, silver and palladium were obtained from acidic solutions. The developing method was successfully applied to the determination of trace amounts of gold, silver and palladium in some samples with satisfactory results (relative standard deviation < 7 %; relative error < 3 %).