In this paper, fundamental mechanisms for iron ore reduction in coal-ore mixtures have been investigated using several advanced experimental techniques. Firstly, the thermal properties of coal-ore mixtures were studied and apparent specific heat of coal-ore mixtures against temperature was obtained at a heating rate of 10°C/min. Several exothermic and endothermic peaks were observed which were related to the decomposition reactions and reduction. The flue gases from the mixture were analysed using a mass spectrometer. Secondly, the X-ray diffraction (XRD) and the iron phase analytical techniques were applied to identify the iron phase changes with the temperature. It has been found that coal devolatilisation and iron oxides reduction occur simultaneously during the heating of the mixture. H2 and CO gases produced from coal devolatilisation and char gasification were responsible for the reduction of iron oxides at these temperatures. Iron oxides undergo step-wise reduction over the whole process. The results in this work provide a fundamental understanding for the direct reduced ironmaking processes.