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High-grade BIF-hosted iron ore deposits are widely believed to have formed by epigenetic residual enrichment of hematite at the expense of other constituents, most notably chert. Processes responsible for the enrichment to high-grade iron ores are, however, only poorly understood and a range of metallogenetic models have been proposed. Field relationships have been used to distinguish three major groups of BIF-hosted high-grade iron ore deposits, namely deposits of ancient supergene, hydrothermal, and supergene-modified hydrothermal origin. Iron ores from all three deposit types are essentially composed of hematite; among different morphological types of hematite, microcystalline platy hematite and martite predominate.

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