With commodity prices squeezing cash flow, mining companies everywhere are seeking ways to control costs. Doing so depends in large part on getting material out of the ground as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Our own experts explain how financial solutions can play a role in making that a reality. Here are four opportunities they shared to preserve your operation’s cash.
1. Weigh rebuild versus replace.
The newer the equipment, the more efficient the operation—but when purchasing new machines isn’t realistic, rebuilding equipment may be your best option to extend life and improve equipment availability at a lower cost. (Another option: consider used equipment.)
With an aging fleet, it makes sense to weigh the costs of buying or leasing against the costs of rebuilding or maintaining older equipment. Financing or deferring payments for rebuilds often can make it a more cost-effective solution.
That’s likely why we have seen an uptick in requests for rebuild financing over the past few years—and why we have offered special financing programs to make it even more affordable. A customer operating an underground mine in Canada, for example, recently financed a half-million-dollar rebuild over 18 months, with no payments for the first six months.
2. Turn to technology.
Another way to bring efficiency into your operation is through technology. Today’s mining technologies deliver insights that identify where things are going well and where there’s need for improvement. Health monitoring systems can ensure that maintenance stays on track and can spot problems before they turn into expensive repairs—meanwhile, onboard guidance tools can help operators hit targets every time, reducing costly rework, fuel use and excessive wear.
Spending money to acquire technology in a down market may seem counter-intuitive, but it can pay for itself relatively quickly—and financial assistance is available. We can bundle financing for equipment and technology purchased together, as well as work with customers who buy technology separately. As an example, we recently set up a $1.8 million, 24-month financing package for a mining operation that added Cat® MineStar™ technologies to its existing fleet of trucks.
3. Consider credit.
For expenses like parts, service, attachments, rentals and even technology, a revolving line of credit can be a simple way to improve cash flow. For mining companies in the U.S., Canada and Japan, we offer Commercial Account, which essentially works like a credit card and can be used at any Cat dealer or Cat Rental Store. If you choose a Standard Revolving Account, you have the option to pay just 10% of the parts and service balance each month and revolve the rest at a low interest rate.
Plus, to help with technology acquisition, we are offering 0% financing up to 12 months, including no payments for six months (or 24 months of equal payments at 0% interest), if you use your Commercial Account to pay for Cat MineStar system technology.
4. Work with your lender.
If options like those described above don’t do enough to improve cash flow, it’s worth reaching out to your lenders to explore other solutions. We, for example, are prepared to work with miners to modify existing contracts, including “skip” payments, to align debt service with an operation’s cash flow.
Our flexibility extends to new machines as well. If you’re financing new equipment, and it will be several months before that equipment gets into production, the company may defer payments until it’s working. Mining customers with unencumbered Cat equipment may also pursue a working capital loan to inject cash into operations. We will consider lending a percentage of the appraised Cat equipment value to support your short-term working capital needs.
To learn more about our solutions for the mining industry, including special offers on rebuilds, parts, technology and more, visit our mining page.