Abstract The performance of ion chromatography in the determination of anions and cations in natural mineral waters of different composition and different total mineralization was evaluated. Up to 12 ions of the 20 usually included in extended chemical analysis of natural waters were successfully determined by ion chromatography alone. At least 98.60% and up to 99.96% of total cation composition of mineral waters was determined by ion chromatography. Hydrogen carbonate predominated in anion composition of mineral waters and was determined titrimetrically. The percentage of anions determined by ion chromatography in the remaining anion composition of mineral waters was between 98.90% and 99.96%. The agreement between total concentrations of anions and cations in individual mineral waters determined predominantly by ion chromatography is very good and the performance of ion chromatography for the basic and for the extended chemical analysis of highly mineralized water samples is very high. Method development was assisted by previously developed algorithms and appropriate experimental conditions are also discussed.