Almost everyone in Bwanika has a story to tell about Pozzolana mining. If it was not their grandfather, then it was their father, uncle, or some relative across the hill who made a contribution to the extraction of this mineral. This mineral is the heartbeat of this area.
Almost every family is involved in it in one way or the other. Used in the manufacture of cement, pozzolana has effect on the livelihood of the people in this area, and on its real estate dynamics.
Every plot in this parish located in Kichwamba Sub-County, Kabarole District, has a share of pozzolana. Residents not only use this mineral for construction, but also sell it to cement factories and individuals. Over 40 trucks frequent this area to ferry chunks of pozzolana.
The closest target buyer is Hima Cement in Kasese District, which is more than 50 kilometres away from Kabarole District.
Bwanika is not just endowed with mineral deposits of Pozzolana, it is also a hot spot for accommodation and hotel facilities.
There is a mud rush for land from investors as the area is not fully exploited, and has few investments because it is located outside Fort Portal Town, about 7 kilometres away on a murum road. A boda boda ride from Fort Portal Town to Bwanika costs about Shs5,000. One can also access Bwanika by air at Saka airfield in Kichwamba Sub-County.
What is influencing investment in real estate here is Pozzolana mining that is being done by local people living in the area and some of investors who are rushing into the area to acquire acres of land for pozzolana mining.
Interestingly, as new investors for pozzolana mining come on board in Bwanika parish; investment in hotel, accommodation and rental houses for business is also booming.
Several investors have started putting up bars, hotels, commercial and accommodation houses.
There is a big market for accommodation facilities as workers in the pozzolana mining business are always looking for houses to rent.
People in the eatery business also have a great business opportunity here as truck drivers and miners are usually searching for places to have a meal.
Janet Kobugabe, an eatery owner in the area, says on average, she earns between Shs40,000 and Shs50,000 from selling food. Most of her clients are miners.
Rush for land in the area
Jackson Magezi, the chairperson Bwanika Parish, says the demand for land in the area is high as some investors want acres of land to start mining of Pozzolana while others demand land to invest in real estate. There are several accommodation facilities under construction, and those already operational.
In Kyeganywa Village, a night in a cottage is $100 (about Shs370,000). The cottages mostly attract tourists.
For those who cannot afford to sleep in $100 cottage, a night in a single room in Kihondo Trading Centre, which is a few minutes away costs Shs10,000.
A commercial room is between Shs60,000 and Shs80,000.
Cost of land
The area, has plenty of land available for sale and any investor interested in investing Pozzolana mining and hotel, Bwanika is your dream.
James Alimpa says an acre of land, away from the main road is between Shs18m and Shs25m while an acre of land near the road is between Shs30m and Shs40m.
A 50X50ft plot is between Shs4m and Shs7m.
People in the area access health services from Kichwamba Health Centre III and Bwanika Health Centre II. The area has primary schools such as Kichwamba, Kyanyabuhara, Nyamisigiri, Bwanika and Buhara.
A truck of pozzolana costs between Shs180,000 and Shs250,000.
Pozzolana mining licence
For those interested in investing in this business, one need to know the law that governs mining sector and on how to acquire license.
According to the mining act 2003, any person who wishes to mine can apply for location license.
“Location license” means a license for prospecting and mining operations by methods which do not involve substantial expenditure and the use of specialised technology.
For a location license to be granted to an individual, they have to be a citizen of Uganda, and for companies to get a licence, at leas 51 per cent of their owners should be Ugandan citizens.