Barrick chairman Thornton boosts ownership with major share buy

Barrick Gold’s chairman John Thornton has just given a fresh boost to the company’s global employee share plan, leading by example.

The boss of the world's top gold miner bought Tuesday 306,000 additional shares in the company, bringing his total share ownership position to 2,720,991 common shares.

Two other directors also hiked their stake, Barrick said, including Rob Prichard — who purchased 10,000 shares — and Graham Clow, who acquired 7,500. Pritchard and Clow now own 30,000 and 22,583 shares, respectively.

The move comes barely a day after RBC upgraded Barrick to Outperform, highlighting the buying opportunity in the miner’s shares:

We believe the impact of Barrick's higher cost guidance and much discussed declining production profile are priced into the shares and the relative valuation provides investors with an attractive entry point.

The resolution of the Acacia/Tanzania spat and expected development project and exploration updates are near-term catalysts.

In 2016, Barrick launched its global employee share plan, aimed at making every staff member an owner of the company.

Earlier this month, it said employees would receive 90 shares each in 2018, taking the total held by staff to more than 1.5 million shares.

The company, which is risking losing its leading position as world’s largest gold miner due to rival Newmont’s (NYSE:NEM) ongoing output increase, said last month it will add 1 million ounces of production from four projects after 2022.