The role that iron played in the oxygenation of Earth’s surface is equivocal. Iron could have consumed molecular oxygen when Fe3+-oxyhydroxides formed in the oceans, or it could have promoted atmospheric oxidation by means of pyrite burial. Through high-precision iron isotopic measurements of Archean-Paleoproterozoic sediments and laboratory grown pyrites, we show that the triple iron isotopic composition of Neoarchean-Paleoproterozoic pyrites requires both extensive marine iron oxidation and sulfide-limited pyritization. Using an isotopic fractionation model informed by these data, we constrain the relative sizes of sedimentary Fe3+-oxyhydroxide and pyrite sinks for Neoarchean marine iron. We show that pyrite burial could have resulted in molecular oxygen export exceeding local Fe2+ oxidation sinks, thereby contributing to early episodes of transient oxygenation of Archean surface environments.