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Chemical reduction is the process of lowering the oxidation state of an ion. The canonical example of reduction is that of reducing ore (in the form of a metallic oxide or sulfide) to metal. Chemically, reduction reactions are always paired with oxidation reactions: when one element is reduced, another is oxidized. The paired reactions are together referred to as a redox reaction. In the case of reduction of ore to metal, while the oxidation state of the metal is reduced, the oxidation state of the oxygen ions increase.
An example reduction of iron ore:
2 Fe2O3---->4 Fe + 3 O2
In this reaction, the oxidation state of the iron (Fe) is reduced from +3 in the ore, to 0 in the metal, while the oxidation state of the oxygen (O) increases from -2 to 0.