Understanding the cumulative socioenvironmental impacts of energy transition-induced extractivism in Mozambique: The role of mixed methods

J Environ Manage. 2023 Jul 15:338:117811. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.117811. Epub 2023 Apr 6.


The global energy transition is very resource intense, and scholarship is rapidly increasing to show its impacts in various resource extraction frontiers in the global South. These emerging studies are clarifying the social and environmental impacts of extracting particular energy transition resources (ETRs). However, there is still limited attention on the cumulative socioenvironmental impacts of extracting multiple ETRs from the same region. This paper proposes to mix geospatial and qualitative research methods to examine the cumulative socioenvironmental impacts of ETR extraction. We apply these mixed methods to study the impacts of an expanding frontier of graphite and natural gas extraction in Mozambique. The geospatial results show that patterns in socioenvironmental changes, including a surge in built-up and bare areas and water-covered surfaces, and a shrinkage of vegetated areas - some of which are ecologically sensitive, are starting to emerge in the project areas. In combination with qualitative methods, we identified additional impacts including an increase in solid waste and air and noise pollution, and an inception of extractivism-associated conflict in certain project areas. When single commodities are analyzed, using single methods, some of these impacts may be overlooked or underestimated. In order to fully understand the sustainability implications of the energy transition process, it is instrumental to combine geospatial and qualitative research methods to monitor the cumulative socioenvironmental impacts at its upstream end.

Keywords: Energy transition; Extractivism; Mixed methods; Resource frontiers; Socioenvironmental impacts.

MeSH terms

  • Environment
  • Environmental Pollution*
  • Mozambique
  • Natural Gas
  • Social Environment*
  • Solid Waste


  • Natural Gas
  • Solid Waste