Alkaline leaching is an important way for treating low grade metal oxide ore, which has some advantages such as low corrosion and low pollution compared to acidic leaching. In order to recover the zinc from a low grade complex zinc oxide ore in which the grade of Zn and Fe are 13 wt.% and 40.2 wt.%, respectively, and 52.8% of Zn is contained in siderite, 34.63% in limonite and 11.55% in smithsonite, this paper presents a preliminary investigation of this type of ore by alkaline leaching method. In this study, ammonia-ammonium chloride and ammonia-ammonium carbonate were used as the leaching reagents. The effects of alkaline concentration, leaching time, leaching temperature and liquid to solid ratio (L/S) were studied, respectively. The results show that 43.15% of initial Zn content was extracted adopting ammonia-ammonium chloride as the leaching reagent in 4.5M at 30°C for 3h with a liquid to solid ratio of 4:1, while 43.07% of Zn recovery was achieved employing ammonia-ammonium carbonate as the leaching reagent at 5M, 30°C and 4:1(L/S). The low leaching rate of Zn is probably attributed to that the zinc contained in siderite was not extracted completely because Zn and Fe exist as isomorphism in siderite.