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 color from dark grey, bright yellow, or deep purple to rusty red. The iron is usually found in the form of magnetite (4, 72.4% Fe), hematite (3, 69.9% Fe), goethite (FeO(OH), 62.9% Fe), limonite (FeO(OH)Â·(H2O), 55% Fe) or siderite (FeCO3, 48.2% Fe).
Ores containing very high quantities of hematite or magnetite (greater than about 60% iron) are known as "natural ore" or "direct shipping ore", meaning they can be fed directly into iron-making blast furnaces. Iron ore is the raw material used to make pig iron, which is one of the main raw materials to make steel 98% of the mined iron ore is used to make steel. In 2011 the Financial Times has speculated that iron ore is "more integral to the global economy than any other commodity, except perhaps oil".