Zinc is important non-ferrous metal resource and sphalerite (ZnS) is the most abundant Zn-bearing mineral. The need to process low-grade and/or complex sphalerite-containing ores that cannot be concentrated is the main driver for the development of (bio)hydrometallurgical processes. The paper presents a review of metallurgical processes of sphalerite by (bio)hydrometallurgy technologies over the last 30 years. Currently, effect of different microorganisms (Leptospirillum ferrooxidans, Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans), reaction conditions (pH, temperature, redox potential), leaching agent (ferric ions, o-phenylenediamine, L-cysteine) in ferric sulfate–sulfuric acid system are reviewed. The ferric sulfate–sulfuric acid system has been studied extensively because it comprises the most low-cost process route. Hydrochloric acid and alkaline solution systems were included because they may offer specific advantages in some instances. The aims of this review were to summarise current knowledge in respect of these systems and highlight potentially rewarding areas for future research.