The Niger Delta is a major oil producing area, exporting 40% of the oil produced in its 606 oilfields to the United States, making it the third largest source of oil imports for the USA. Oil amounts to 80% of Nigeria's export earnings and makes up around 70% of government income. A whole host of companies operate in Nigeria, the same recognisable names of the world's major oil multinationals amongst them. But one stands out in particular: Shell.
A satellite imaging method developed by US scientists in 2005 revealed that the 'selective logging' of trees for commercial purposes had destroyed Amazonian rainforests twice as quickly as previously thought.  Selecting only marketable tree species without completely clearing the whole forest, the 'timber thieves' had apparently exploited logging techniques that are less easy to detect. In this article, written in 2009, Corporate Watch's Shiar Youssef argues that this environmentally destructive practice is an inevitable result of market economy. He then briefly discusses some 'solutions' to the problem suggested by economists and how feasible or practical they might be.
Rio Tinto Group is an Anglo-Australian mining company involved in exploration, extraction and refinement of a variety of metals and minerals including energy products such as coal and uranium. It is one the world's largest mining companies with operations on six continents. US Fortune magazine has Rio Tinto listed as the 134th biggest company in the world. It is the world's largest producer of aluminium and second biggest iron ore. In 2009, Rio Tinto's net earnings amounted to US $4.9 billion. Here we examine the company's history and record on issues of labour rights, environmental and human rights impact.