Flotation of soluble salts with dodecyl amine hydrochloride (DAH) and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) collectors has demonstrated that the interfacial water structure and hydration states of soluble salt surfaces together with the precipitation tendency of the corresponding collector salts are of considerable importance in explaining their flotation behavior. In particular, the high concentration of ions in these soluble salt brines and their hydration appear to modify the bulk and interfacial structure of water as revealed by contact angle measurements and this effect is shown to be an important feature in the flotation chemistry of soluble salt minerals including alkali halide and alkali oxyanion salts. Depending on characteristic chemical features (salt type), the salt can serve either as a structure maker, in which intermolecular hydrogen bonding between water molecules is facilitated, or as a structure breaker, in which intermolecular hydrogen bonding between water molecules is disrupted. For structure making salts the brine completely wets the salt surface and no contact angle can be measured. For structure breaking salts the brine does not completely wet the salt surface and a finite contact angle is measured. In this regard it has been found that soluble salt flotation either with the cationic DAH or anionic SDS collector is possible only if the salt is a structure breaker. (C) 2001 Academic Press.