"The strategic partnership with CNMC will provide significant opportunities for collaboration on mineral exploration, mine planning, development and acquisition of mineral projects, logistics and smelting - beginning with examining the synergies between the operations currently owned by our two companies," Ivanhoe co-chairman Robert Friedland said.
Ivanhoe is developing the Kamoa-Kakula copper project and former Kipushi mine joint ventures in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Platreef joint venture in South Africa.
CNMC's core Africa assets were listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2012 and include the Chambishi copper mine in Zambia and in the DRC, the Deziwa copper and cobalt mine and Lualaba copper smelter, which is about 45km from Kamoa-Kakula.
Ivanhoe president Marna Cloete said she was confident Kakula would be in production within a year.
"I strongly believe that cooperation is the best way to achieving the goals of both companies," CNMC chairman Wang Tongzhou said in a joint statement.
Toronto-listed Ivanhoe had said last month it was fielding daily inquiries about its tier one assets, thanks to the rebound in metals prices.
The partnership follows a link made more than two decades ago.
Ivanhoe said CNMC's predecessor had made the first international acquisition by a Chinese mining company more than 20 years ago, purchasing Chambishi with the investment facilitated by Friedland.
Hong Kong's market was closed earlier today due to cyclone warnings, with CNMC (HKSE: 1258) last trading at HK$1.81, capitalising it at $6.31 billion (US$0.81 billion).
Ivanhoe shares (TSX: IVN) closed 10c off a one-year high yesterday at C$5.15, valuing it at $6.2 billion (US$4.7 billion).