The graffiti covered stairwell of a housing block, one of many built by the Danish authorities during the 1960s and 1970s as part of a project to move the population from their traditional communities to cities. Narsaq has an unemployment rate of 15% and during 2012/13 600 people left the town. However, the surrounding mountains contain some of the world's largest deposits of rare earth minerals. Until recently mining these resources has been impossible because more than 80% of the island is covered by an ice cap some 4km thick in places, but with the ice melting at record speed, especially in the south, mining is becoming more feasible. An Australian mining company, Greenland Minerals and Energy, are hoping to get permission to start mining in Narsaq, promising jobs and revitalisation.