Niger has obtained a loan of 480 billion CFA Francs (1 billion U.S. dollars) from the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank) to fund various projects in the land-locked West African country, an official source said on Thursday. The agreement ratified in Niamey on Wednesday by the Nigerien government will facilitate funding of projects in sectors such as construction, agriculture and industry. Currently, Sino-Nigerien cooperation covers energy, culture, security and infrastructure. The cooperation was reinforced after the entry of various Chinese companies in the drilling and refining of Nigerien oil and the mining of uranium in the northern part of the country. With Chinese support, Niger is today one of the oil producing and exporting countries. The country has a complete petroleum industry, according to the source. The authorities have also proposed the use of Chinese support to boost the entire project for coal mining from Salkadamna mines in Tahoua region and construction of a high-voltage transmission line from Soraz to Malbaza through Zinder and Maradi towns.