WGI announces winter closing of Emerald Creek Garnet mine

    COEUR D'ALENE, ID, Jan. 2 /CNW/ - WGI Heavy Minerals, Incorporated (WGI)
(TSX: WG) today announced that it has temporarily ceased operations at its
Emerald Creek Garnet ("ECG") mine in Fernwood, Idaho.
    The combination of adverse weather conditions in December 2008 and the
recent lower grades of garnet produced in the areas WGI was mining in the past
two months at ECG contributed to this decision to shut down the mining effort
at ECG for the next three months. Weather permitting the Company intends to
resume normal operations in April 2009 and concentrate on areas where it is
anticipated that the grade of garnet will be more favourable.
    "Last winter's record snowfall combined with lower grade garnet in the
ground also resulted in a difficult time for ECG. This year's winter has begun
with even more snow and colder temperatures. These factors contributed to this
decision to shut down the mining effort at ECG for the winter months," said
Greg Emerson, Chief Executive Officer.
    If weather conditions allow, the Company will continue with its
reclamation efforts to take advantage of equipment and labour resource
availability during these shut down months. All but essential personnel at the
mine will be laid off for this shut down period, effective December 31.
    WGI does not anticipate any material change in its ability to supply
garnet to WGI's world-wide customers as the amount of garnet produced at ECG
during the first three months of 2008 was 2,282 tons at a loss of $306,000.
WGI continues to receive garnet from India under our distribution agreement
with VV Minerals.

    About WGI

    WGI Heavy Minerals, Incorporated is a marketer of industrial grade
minerals sourced primarily out of India, producer of industrial-grade garnet
out of Idaho and Germany and manufacturer of replacement parts for ultra-high
waterjet cutting systems in the U.S. The Company's shares are listed on the
Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WG.

    This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning the
business, operations, and financial performance and condition of WGI Heavy
Minerals, Incorporated. A number of the matters discussed and statements made
in the press release contain forward-looking statements reflecting current
expectations regarding future assets. When used in this press release, the
words "believe", "anticipate", "intend", "estimate", "expect", "project", and
similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements,
although not all forward-looking statements contain such words. These
forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are naturally
subject to risks, uncertainties, and changes in circumstances beyond
management's control that may cause actual results to differ materially from
those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that
may cause such differences include but are not limited to: exploration and
development risks; risks related to permits and title to property; risks
related to foreign countries and regulatory requirements; operating hazards;
foreign currency fluctuations; competition; fluctuations in the market price
of mineral commodities and transportation costs; uncertainty as to
calculations of mineral deposit estimates; uninsured risks; and dependence
upon key management personnel and executives. Actual results may differ
materially from those expressed here. You should not place undue reliance on
such forward-looking statements. The Company is under no obligation to update
or alter such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new
information, future events, or otherwise.

For further information:

For further information: Ed Kok, Investor Relations, 810 Sherman Ave.,
Coeur d'Alene, ID, 83814, U.S.A., Phone (208) 770-2208, E-mail edkok@mac.com,

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WGI Heavy Minerals, Incorporated

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