The Jinding Zn–Pb deposit located in the Mesozoic-Cenozoic Lanping Basin of southwest China has ore reserves of ∼ 220 Mt with an average grade of 6.1% Zn and 1.3% Pb. The mineralization is hosted by sandstone in the Early Cretaceous Jingxing Formation and limestone breccia in the Paleocene Yunlong Formation. Mineralization in both types of host rocks is characterized by a paragenetic sequence beginning with marcasite–sphalerite (Stage 1) followed by pyrite–marcasite–sphalerite–galena (Stage 2), and then galena–sphalerite–pyrite–sulfate–carbonate (Stage 3). Pyrite from these stages have different δ33S compositions with pyrite from Stage 1 averaging − 9.6‰, Stage 2 averaging − 8.9‰, and Stage 3 averaging + 0.3‰. Sphalerite hosted by the sandstone has similar δ66Zn values ranging from 0.10 to 0.30‰ in all stages of the mineralization, but sphalerite samples from the limestone breccia-hosted ore show variable δ66Zn values between − 0.03 and 0.20‰. Our data on sphalerite precipitated during the earlier stages of mineralization has a constant δ66Zn value and cogenetic pyrite displays a very light sulfur isotope signature, which we believe to reflect a sulfur source that formed during bacterial sulfate reduction (BSR). The Stage 3 sphalerite and pyrite precipitated from a late influx of metal-rich basinal brine, which had a relatively constant variable δ66Zn isotopic composition due to open system isotope fractionation, and a near zero δ33S composition due to the influence of abiotic thermochemical sulfate reduction from observed sulfates in the host rock.