Time-dependent sorption and desorption of Cd on calcite was studied over 210 days utilizing 109Cd as a tracer to distinguish between ‘labile’ and ‘non-labile’ forms of sorbed Cd. Stabilizing the calcite suspensions for 12 months under atmospheric PCO2 and controlled temperature was necessary to reliably follow Cd dynamics following initial sorption. Results revealed time-dependant Cd sorption and marked desorption hysteresis by calcite under environmentally relevant conditions. Data obtained were fitted to a first-order kinetic model and a concentric shell diffusion model. Both models described the progressive transfer of Cd2+ to a less reactive form within calcite and subsequent desorption of Cd subject to different initial contact times. The kinetic model provided a better fit to the combined sorption and desorption data (R2 = 0.992). It differentiates between two ‘pools’ of sorbed Cd2+ on calcite, ‘labile’ and ‘non-labile’, in which labile sorbed Cd is in immediate equilibrium with the free Cd2+ ion activity in solution whereas non-labile Cd is kinetically restricted. For the diffusion model (R2 = 0.959), the rate constants describing Cd dynamics in calcite produced a half-life for Cd desorption of 175 d, for release to a ‘zero-sink’ solution. Results from this study allow comment on the likely mechanisms occurring at the calcite surface following long-term Cd sorption.