Abstract The reduction rate of reagent grade SnO 2 and Fe 2O 3 with solid carbon was investigated in the temperature range 973 to 1273 K, using a thermogravimetric method. The effect of the type and relative amount of carbon was studied. The effect of tin metal on the catalysis of carbon oxidation in CO 2 was also investigated. SnO 2 was found to be reduced to tin metal via the intermediate oxide of SnO. Activation energies for the reduction of SnO 2 and Fe 2O 3 with devolatilised anthracite were found to be 84 and 87.2 kJ/mol. respectively. These values are believed to be for the oxidation of carbon by CO 2 in the system studied. There was found to be a stoichiometric restriction on the rate of oxidation of both oxides by carbon. With increasing amounts of carbon there is an increase in the rate of reduction of the metal oxides up to a carbon/combined oxygen (in metal oxide) ratio of above 1:1.