High efficiency activated carbons have been prepared for removing mercury from gas streams. Starting materials used were petroleum coke, lignite, charcoal and olive seed waste, and were chemically activated with KOH. Produced adsorbents were primarily characterized for their porosity by N2 adsorption at 77K. Their mercury retention capacity was characterized based on the breakthrough curves. Compared with typical commercial carbons, they have exhibited considerably enhanced mercury adsorption capacity. An attempt has been made to correlate mercury entrapment and pore structure. It has been shown that physical surface area is increased during activation in contrast to the mercury adsorption capacity that initially increases and tends to decrease at latter stages. Desorption of active sites may be responsible for this behavior.