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The halide mineral class include those minerals with a dominant halideanion (F-, Cl-, Br- and I-). Complex halide minerals may also have polyatomic anions in addition to or that include halides.
Many of these minerals are water-soluble and are often found in arid areas in crusts and other deposits as are various borates, nitrates, iodates, bromates and the like. Some, such as the fluorite group, are not water-soluble. All or most of simple halides of fluorine through iodine of all of the natural alkali metals and alkaline earth metals as well as numerous other metals and cations are found in some quantity at one or more locations. More complex minerals as shown below are also found.
Commercially significant halide minerals
Two commercially important halide minerals are halite and fluorite. The former is a major source of sodium chloride, in parallel with sodium chloride extracted from sea water or brine wells. Fluorite is a major source of hydrogen fluoride, complementing the supply obtained as a byproduct of the production of fertilizer. Carnallite and bischofite are important sources of magnesium. Natural cryolite was historically required for the production of aluminium, however, currently most cryolite used is produced synthetically.
Many of the halide minerals occur in marine evaporite deposits. The Atacama Desert also has large quantities of halide minerals as well as chlorates, iodates, oxyhalides and the like as well as nitrates, borates and other water-soluble minerals--not only underground but it crusts on the surface due to the low rainfall--the Atacama is the world's driest desert as well as one of the oldest (25 million years)