Industrial pyrometallurgical processes in ferrous metallurgy are based on carbothermal reduction of metal oxides. Carbothermal reduction of stable oxides requires high temperatures. Low-temperature reduction can be implemented by using methane-containing gas with high carbon activity, or by carbothermal reduction under reduced CO partial pressure. Under standard conditions, methane is thermodynamically unstable above 550°C and decomposes to solid carbon and hydrogen. At appropriate CH4/H2 ratio and temperature, carbon activity in the methane-containing gas phase can be well above unity relative to graphite, which provides favorable thermodynamic conditions for reduction. To maintain these conditions, the rate of reduction/carburisation should be higher than the rate of solid carbon deposition. The paper discusses reduction of pure manganese, chromium and titanium oxides at relatively low temperatures, and constraints in reduction of manganese, chromium ores and quartz. Reduction of metal oxides by carbon black in hydrogen as an alternative use of natural gas is also discussed.