Abstract The complex equilibria of iron(III) with 1-amino-4-hydroxyanthraquinone (AMHA) were studied spectrophotometrically in 40% (v/v) ethanol and an ionic strength of 0.1 M (NaClO 4). The complexation reactions were demonstrated and characterized using graphical logarithmic analysis of the absorbance-pH graphs. A simple, rapid, selective and sensitive method for the spectrophotometric determination of trace amounts of Fe(III) is developed based on the formation of Fe(AMHA) complex at pH 2.5 (λ max = 640 nm, ϵ ⋍ 2.1 × 10 4 L. mol −1 . cm −1) in the presence of a large number of foreign ions. Interferences caused by palladium(II) was masked by the addition of cyanide ions. The method has been applied to the determination of iron in some synthetic samples and polymetallic iron ores.