Certainly. The price of fuel, as you know, is very high. With fats and oils you're looking at a price of around $1,000 per tonne. It's expensive. Grease theft has increased greatly in the last 24 months. In the U.S. last year they estimated that $39 million of material was being stolen. In Canada it was estimated at around $250,000, but that has now increased dramatically. They're very sophisticated operations.
The association wrote to the minister about it last year. We recognize there's not much the federal government can do. It's a municipal issue, a police issue, and the police have more interesting things to do, or more responsibility than grease. However, they are now taking a much bigger interest in it because of the scale of this and the possibility that organized crime is becoming involved.
We see this as a major risk, not only from the point of view of loss of raw material, but also with respect to the potential for damage to the whole industry. If you have unscrupulous dealers with this material and they start feeding it to the feed industry and mixing it with sources of oil that are contaminated, there is the potential for a major crisis. This happened and we had to point it out.
So we're meeting about this next week, and the Americans are meeting next Tuesday, to discuss this whole issue and see if there's anything else that can be done.
We've used cameras, GPS tracking, and investigators. Some court cases have been brought, but unfortunately it's very hard to prove whose grease is what. So it's becoming extremely difficult to actually bring people to court.
We haven't asked the government for mandatory licensing of the trade, because it's unregulated to a degree. Of course, some in the feed industry may be buying this material without even realizing it and putting everybody at risk.