Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metallic iron can be economically extracted. The ores are usually rich in iron oxides and vary in colour from dark grey, bright yellow, or deep purple to rusty red. The iron itself is usually found in the form of magnetite, hematite, goethite, limonite or siderite.


Limonite is an iron ore consisting of a mixture of hydrated iron(III) oxide-hydroxides in varying composition. The generic formula is frequently written as FeO·nH₂O, although this is not entirely accurate as the ratio of oxide to hydroxide can vary quite widely.


Magnetite is a rock mineral and one of the main iron ores, with the chemical formula Fe₃O₄. It is one of the oxides of iron, and is ferrimagnetic; it is attracted to a magnet and can be magnetized to become a permanent magnet itself. It is the most magnetic of all the naturally-occurring minerals on Earth.