Western Goldfields Announces First 2008 Gold Pour at Mesquite Mine



    All dollar amounts are in US millions (unaudited)

    
    -  First gold pour for 2008 production of 1,000 ounces
    -  January sales and production ahead of budget
    -  Exploration drilling expected to begin by end January
    

    TORONTO, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - Western Goldfields Inc. (TSX:WGI, AMEX:  WGW)
today announced that it has completed the first gold pour of 1,000 ounces for 
2008 production at its Mesquite Mine in California. Gold sales for the month
of January are expected to be approximately 2,700 ounces, exceeding the
January budget by more than 30%.
    "Placement of ore on the leach pad is ahead of schedule and gold recovery
is as predicted which will enable the Mesquite Mine to achieve the production
targets announced in December 2007," reported Mr. Raymond Threlkeld, President
and Chief Executive Officer. "As we add more ore to the leach pad, production
levels will increase, and we expect to produce approximately 155,000-165,000
ounces of gold in 2008."
    "The announcement of the first gold pour at Mesquite is the final
milestone in the transformation of Western Goldfields from a developer to a
producer," said Mr. Randall Oliphant, Chairman. "Now that we have achieved
production at Mesquite - three months ahead of the Feasibility Study schedule
and on budget - we are now focused on growth strategies to enhance shareholder
value."
    Capital spending through year-end 2007 on the expansion project was
$98.4 million, and the remainder of the $109.2 million development capital
will be spent in the first quarter of 2008 when the remainder of the leach
pad, processing facility and truck shop are completed. Western Goldfields had
cash on hand of approximately $51 million, including $7.5 million in
restricted cash, at the end of 2007. To date, the Company has drawn down $77
million of the $87 million credit facility available for the Mesquite
expansion. "Western Goldfields has sufficient cash on hand and projected cash
flow to meet all its requirements for 2008, along with cash to be utilized for
strategic purposes," added Mr. Oliphant.
    Exploration drilling of the Brownie Hill deposit is scheduled to begin in
the last week of January. During 2008, approximately $1.0 million will be
spent on additional definition and exploratory drilling. The drilling will be
focused on the follow up of mineralization found outside the current reserve
area at Brownie Hill, where approximately 200,000 ounces of gold were added
into reserves in 2007.
    The technical data contained in this news release has been prepared under
the supervision of Wes Hanson, P. Geo., Vice-President of Mine Development,
Western Goldfields, and the Qualified Person under NI 43-101 for the project.

    Western Goldfields Inc.
    -----------------------
    Western Goldfields is a gold producer focused on completing the expansion
of its Mesquite Mine, located in Imperial County, California, and returning
the mine to full production. With a 2.8 million ounce gold reserve, the
Company is the only multi-million ounce US gold reserve not controlled by a
major gold company. Mesquite is expected to produce approximately 15,000
ounces of gold in the first quarter. Second quarter production will increase
to between 40,000-50,000 ounces of gold, and full year's production for 2008
is expected to be between 155,000-165,000 ounces of gold. The average cost of
sales for the year is expected to be between $355-$365 per ounce of gold.
Western Goldfields common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the
symbol WGI, and on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol WGW. For
further details, please visit www.westerngoldfields.com.

    Forward-Looking Information
    ---------------------------
    Certain statements contained in this news release and subsequent oral
statements made by and on behalf of the Company may contain forward-looking
information within the meaning of the United States Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and similar Canadian legislation. Such
forward-looking statements are identified by words such as "intends",
"anticipates", "believes", "expects", and "hopes" and include, without
limitation, statements regarding the Company's plan of business operations,
timing and costs to recommence commercial production, potential increase in
estimates of mineral resources or reserves, economic viability of the Mesquite
Mine, and capital and operating expenditures. There can be no assurance that
such statements will prove to be accurate; actual results and future events
could differ materially from such statements. Factors that could cause actual
results to differ materially include, among others, the uncertainties involved
in interpreting drilling results and those set forth in the Company's Annual
Report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended December 31, 2006 filed with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission, under the caption, "Risk Factors". Most of
these factors are outside the control of the Company. Investors are cautioned
not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Except as otherwise
required by applicable securities statutes or regulation, the Company
disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly these forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or
otherwise.

    %CIK: 0001394186




For further information:

For further information: please visit www.westerngoldfields.com, or
contact: Raymond Threlkeld, President and Chief Executive Officer, (416)
324-6005, rthrelkeld@westerngoldfields.com; Brian Penny, Chief Financial
Officer, (416) 324-6002, bpenny@westerngoldfields.com; Julie Taylor Pantziris,
Director, Investor Relations, (416) 324-6015, jtaylor@westerngoldfields.com

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WESTERN GOLDFIELDS INC.

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