Magnesium chloride is the name for the chemical compounds with the formulas MgCl2 and its various hydrates MgCl2(H2O)x. These salts are typical ionic halides, being highly soluble in water. The hydrated magnesium chloride can be extracted from brine or sea water. Magnesium chloride as the natural mineral bischofite is also extracted (solution mining) out of ancient seabeds, for example the Zechstein seabed in northwest Europe. Anhydrous magnesium chloride is the principal precursor to magnesium metal, which is produced on a large scale.