In this study, the leaching behaviour of zinc from a smithsonite ore sample (23.43% Zn) having goethite and calcite as main gangue minerals was investigated in sodium hydroxide solutions using X-ray diffraction and chemical analyses. Within the studied NaOH concentration range (1-4 mole/dm(3)), higher leaching ratio values for Zn were obtained by leaching at 298 K because of the decreased stability of soluble zincate species in solution at higher temperatures. When the concentration of NaOH solution was increased from 1 to 3 mole/dm(3) at 298 K, leaching ratio value of Zn increased from 3.8 to 70.1%. At 4 mole/dm(3) NaOH concentration, Zn leaching ratio value (70.9%) levelled off due to the formation of solid hydrated calcium zincate phase in leaching solution. On the other hand, very low leaching ratio values of Zn were obtained by leaching in 1 mole/dm(3) NaOH solution at 298 K (3.8%) and 363 K (1.4%) due to the formation of solid zinc hydroxide and solid zinc oxide phases, respectively. It was observed that increasing leaching time from 1800 to 14400 s at 3 mole/dm(3) NaOH concentration, favoured the formation of hydrated calcium zincate phase and so decreased the leaching ratio of Zn to a lower value (60.6%). The effect of solid/liquid ratio was also investigated and it was found that when solid/liquid ratio was decreased, Zn leaching ratio values decreased at constant OH/Zn mole ratio and increased at constant NaOH concentration conditions. Besides, for some of the experiments, leaching ratio values of lead were also given.