Abstract Iron-formation was deposited as a distal facies of ferruginous carbonate turbidites in an open shelf environment in front of a shallow-water carbonate platform at the time of deposition of the Campbellrand carbonate sequence. A subsequent transgression resulted in the deposition of open shelf iron-formation on top of the Campbellrand carbonate platform. Progradational sedimentation coupled with shoaling followed, and an iron-formation sequence represented by the Kuruman and Griquatown Iron-formations was deposited. This sequence consists from the base upwards of stacked open-shelf cycles of altered volcanic ash stilpnomelane lutite beds and autochthonous banded ferhythmite units; toe-of-slope greenalite—siderite rhythmites; platform slope greenalite—siderite rhythmites with grainflow bands; platform edge sideritic orthochemical and allochemical iron-formations; epeiric sea orthochemical and allochemical sideritic, hematitic and greenalitic iron-formations; supratidal disclutites and lacustrine banded greenalite lutite. Landwards, the lacustrine felutites were followed by deltaic chloritic claystone, siltstone and quartz wacke of the Koegas Subgroup. Autochthonous ferhythmites of the Kuruman Iron-formation reach a maximum development in a basin near Prieska, whereas orthochemical and allochemical units are more abundant on the Kaapvaal craton. Iron mineral and chert microbanding in the ferhythmites is attributed to seasonal changes in Eh and pH in the depository and may be related to biological activity. Chert mesobanding in the iron-formations is essentially of an early diagenetic origin.