Canadian PM to visit Dar next week : In midst of brewing political storm over mining sector benefits to the national economy THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam CANADIAN Prime Minister Stephen Harper is next week scheduled to arrive in the country for talks with President Jakaya Kikwete. Media reports from Ottawa say the Canadian premier will make the visit after attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in Kampala, Uganda from November 23-26. While in Tanzania, Harper will discuss various issues related to bilateral ties between the two countries with the president. The reports say Canadian taxpayers have contributed over $1bn to Tanzania since 1960, with the bulk of current aid being channelled through the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (MKUKUTA). It is understood that Canadian companies are also among the leading investors in Tanzania, primarily in the mining sector. The largest of these is Barrick Gold Corporation, which presently runs three large gold mines - Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Tulawaka - and is on the verge of developing a fourth mine - Buzwagi in Shinyanga Region. Available statistics show that Barrick Gold, which is also developing a nickel mine at Kabanga, has so far invested around $1bn in the country. Another Canadian company, Artumas, has been actively involved in the local energy sector with heavy investments in gas drilling and exploration. But the pending visit of the Canadian premier comes at a time when a national political storm over the benefit of the mining sector to the countrys economy appears to be brewing. It is widely believed that so far, the sector has had little impact on the national economy, mainly because of a host of legal, regulatory and fiscal weaknesses. The situation led President Kikwete to recently re-constitute the mining sector review committee to include a wider representative sample of civil society, including two very vocal opposition members of parliament. Although it remains to be seen what the 12-member committee chaired by former attorney general Mark Bomani will come up with, many Tanzanians are hoping that it will conduct a truly thorough review of prevailing mining taxes and royalties. In July this year, the Canadian PM was greeted by local protesters when he visited Barrick Golds operations in the South American country of Chile. The protesters claimed the companys gold and silver Pascua Lama project in the Andes Mountains was displacing indigenous people, polluting rivers and damaging glaciers - charges the company denied.