The precious metals markets were stunned with Barrick Gold’s (NYSE:ABX) announcement that it will float a $3 billion public offering to retire its gold hedges in the futures markets. This means that the world’s largest producer is cashing in its downside protection and gearing itself for a ballistic move up in the price of the barbaric relic. The timing of the announcement, the day that the yellow metal broke $1,000 for the first time since February, couldn’t have been more auspicious. I have been a huge fan of Peter Munk’s ABX all year, cajoling readers into the stock at $27 in January before its 56% run (click here for report ) . South Africa’s largest gold miner, AngloGold Ashanti’s CEO Mark Cutifani says his company put its money where its mouth is, taking off its hedges some time ago. “People are doing what they have been doing for 5,000 years, and that is buying gold as the only hard currency,” opines Cutifani. In the meantime, the Street Tracks gold ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD) announced that it has $34 billion of gold holdings, making it the largest ETF of all, and the fifth largest owner of gold in the world after four central banks. If you want to buy gold bullion or coins for the tightest spread over spot, check out www.millenniummetals.net by clicking here.