In nature, elemental iron is found largely in either magnetite or hematite, both iron ore minerals. Nearly all iron ore — whether used directly as lump ore or converted to briquettes, concentrates, pellets or sinter — is used to make steel. In the United States, steelmaking accounts for almost 99 percent of iron ore consumption.
The iron oxide mineral magnetite as Fe 3 O 4 has a mass percent of % Fe and % O and typically occurs as a natural ore containing 15–40% Fe. Historically hematite direct shipping ore (DSO) has been the preferred source of iron ore globally, with significant resources loed on several continents, including Australia in the Hamersley Range, Western Australia.