How the mining services industry can transform its finance operations with Airwallex

Isabelle Comber5 mins
Business tips
How the mining services industry can transform its finance operations with Airwallex
In this article

Mining has long been considered the backbone of Australia's economy, generating massive amounts of exports, income and jobs. Industry revenue has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2% over the past five years to reach almost $400bn in 2023.

Besides being impressive in its own right, the mining industry relies on a host of satellite businesses that keep the wheels turning every step of the way – from exploration and feasibility to extraction and production. These include geologists, engineers, construction companies and catering providers, plus logistics, transport and equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

Since services businesses play such a crucial role in ensuring the mining sector's efficiency and productivity, understanding their unique challenges and financial pain points is critical. Read on to learn how Airwallex's financial solutions can be a game changer for their operations.

The critical role of support services in the mining industry

Mining operations are complex, with long project cycles that involve extensive planning, execution, and maintenance. This is where many of the businesses that support the mining industry come in with services that help them run effectively and efficiently. 

Engineers, geologists, and consultants provide essential expertise and insights into the feasibility, development, and optimisation of mining projects. After project plans are approved, construction companies and equipment manufacturers create the groundwork for functioning mining sites with the appropriate technical infrastructure. Providing housing and catering for remote and fragmented workforces is another important part of the equation.

Mining companies also face a lot of risk and operate within tight regulations. As such, they rely on specialised consultants and contractors to help them stay safe and compliant. 

While mining might be one of the world’s oldest and most traditional industries, the push to modernise and adapt is just as important here as in other sectors. There are growing demands for sustainability and corporate responsibility along with a real shift towards rethinking business operations from the ground up. 

The mining supply chain is at the heart of driving this transformation. In fact, it's an essential partner in helping the mining sector replace old legacy systems and move towards a more innovative future.

Challenges for mining service providers

Despite their critical role, these support businesses face some significant financial operations challenges:

  1. International transactions and currency exchange: Mining services businesses operate in a global market. They have suppliers or clients overseas, resulting in the need to manage multiple currencies and navigate fluctuating exchange rates which can significantly impact costs and profits.

  2. Cash flow management: The mining industry operates on long project cycles, which can lead to delayed payments. This situation impacts cash flow for support businesses and puts a strain on supplier relationships, impacting their ability to manage day-to-day operations and invest in growth opportunities.

  3. Access to working capital: Given the project-based nature of their work, these businesses often require upfront capital to mobilise resources and commence projects. Traditional banking solutions don’t always offer the flexibility or speed they require.

  4. Cost control and management: Increasing competition within the supply chain makes effective cost control and management a top priority. This is critical for maintaining profitability in a sector known for its price volatility.

  5. The burden of legacy systems: Traditional procurement and expense management processes in the mining industry are known for being paper-heavy and time-consuming. They involve multiple steps of approval and manual entry of data, all of which can lead to inefficiencies and delays. 

How Airwallex can help

By implementing targeted Airwallex solutions, businesses serving the mining industry can face their unique financial and operational challenges head on, and ease the way for increased efficiency, profitability, and growth.

Better cash flow management

Airwallex's Global Accounts are designed to streamline cash flow management by offering businesses multi-currency accounts in multiple countries without the need to open local accounts. 

For businesses involved in long project cycles, they’re a faster and more convenient way of moving money around with flexibility and immediacy, giving them more control over their finances and helping relieve the strain on day-to-day operations and financial planning.

Combined with Bill Pay, Global Accounts offer a strategic advantage when it comes to easing tensions in the supply chain. With Bill Pay, businesses can upload, approve, pay, and reconcile domestic and international bills all within their Airwallex account. This allows them to expedite the payment process to mobilise resources quickly and kickstart projects without unnecessary delays.

Affordable international transactions and currency exchange

For mining services businesses with a global footprint, Airwallex's FX and Transfer solutions can be a lifeline. 

By providing competitive exchange rates and easy currency conversions, Airwallex helps reduce the financial impact of fluctuating exchange rates. Managing multiple currencies becomes less of a burden, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations without worrying about exchange rate volatility eating into their profits. 

Improved cost control and management

In the mining industry, legacy systems for managing expenses can involve slow manual processes with multiple touchpoints that reduce productivity and lead to possible errors. With international teams and fly-in-fly-out workers in the mix, tackling the challenges of cost control can be tough.

Airwallex’s Expense Management suite is an end-to-end expense management system that can help businesses reconcile their corporate card expenses and reimbursements in one place and gain real-time visibility and control over employee spending. 

Employers and finance teams can incorporate all the workflows and controls they need to manage their expenses more effectively and staff can upload receipts directly using a mobile app. Using OCR technology, Airwallex automatically extracts all relevant details without the need for manual data entry. 

Faster payouts result in better engagement and employee satisfaction – a win-win for both parties.

Get started with a free Global Account

Airwallex provides a modern solution for businesses involved in the mining sector, helping them move away from outdated financial processes towards a more integrated, digital-first management system. 

It simplifies international payments, procurement, and spend management, reducing administrative burden and increasing cost savings. As a bonus, businesses can gain better visibility into operations, cut down on errors and reduce risk. 

If you're a mining service business looking to streamline your financial operations, consider exploring how a global account with Airwallex could make a difference for your business.

Disclaimer: This information doesn’t take into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. If you are a customer of Airwallex Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 487221) it is important for you to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the Direct Services, which is available here.

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Isabelle Comber
Business Finance Writer

Izzy is a business finance writer for Airwallex. She specialises in thought leadership that empowers businesses to grow without boundaries.

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