Kelvin Dushnisky. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Kelvin Dushnisky. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

AngloGold Ashanti’s new CEO, Kelvin Dushnisky, clearly sees an upside in the company’s share price, snapping up 50,000 of its American depositary receipts for R5.86m.

The shares worth $386,584 were bought in four tranches over three days in New York between September 4 and 6, just days after the Canadian took up his new role at the world’s third-largest gold producer.

A large purchase or sale of shares by a CEO and fellow executives is often seen as a signal of confidence or concern about the company.

Confidence message

Dushnisky was clearly sending the market a message just days into his tenure at the global mining company. The Canadian replaced Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, who was appointed CEO of Indian diversified miner Vedanta Resources.

If Dushnisky earns anything similar to his predecessor, the purchase would be equivalent to nearly half his annual salary of R13.3m in 2017 terms.

Venkatakrishnan’s wage bill was R28.4m that year, including his R3.3m pension and R8.8m performance bonus.

Among the most pressing tasks for Dushnisky is the successful rebuilding and restarting of the perennially problematic Obuasi mine in Ghana, which was shut to allow AngloGold time to redesign a new mine, seek partners and resolve the fiscal regime with the Ghanaian government before launching the project.

Other challenges

Among the other challenges he faces are the continued difficulties in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where those governments have changed fiscal agreements or are demanding payments related to taxes for the mining sectors in each of those countries.

Dushnisky was the president of the world’s biggest gold miner, Barrick Gold, a large shareholder in Acacia Mining, a gold miner that ran into trouble in Tanzania. Dushnisky was not directly involved in trying to help Acacia resolve its difficulties in that country.