A joint cooperation between Uganda’s Rwenzori Salt Industries and the Chinese Shining Star Group, estimated to cost over two billion shillings to revive the salt project in Lake Katwe, is underway.
The project is expected to produce 50,000 to 100,000 tons of salt per year.
The Shining Star Group company will also produce phosphate for fertilizers, glasses, batteries, and chlorine for the treatment of national water and sewage cooperation plants.
John Bosco Kananura, the mayor of Katwe Kabatooro Town Council, said they have agreed to allocate saltpans to allow local miners to continue operating so as to continue delivering raw materials to the factory.
Kananura said the move by the government is meant to improve social corporate responsibilities, increase employment among its population, and increase purchasing power.
The Uganda Development Corporation built a salt mining factory in Katwe in 1980 but was interrupted by instability, mismanagement, and salt corroding the machinery.
Lake Katwe is about 550 kilometers west of Kampala, in Kasese District, Kabatoro/Katwe Town Council. It is one of about 52 explosion crater lakes found in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The salt mining lake is the chief producer of salt in Uganda. It was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption about 10,000 years ago. The lake is about 9 km wide, and the deepest point is six feet. A raised settlement near the lake is known as “aha katwe” by people who came from neighboring areas to buy salt. It is from this that the name Katwe was derived.
It is uniquely partitioned into various “plots” called salt pans. The pans are square-like, measuring nine feet wide and two meters deep.