The Scientific and Technical Research Center for Diamond (WTOCD), established in 1977 as an independent research center in support of the Belgian diamond manufacturing sector, will lose the financial support of Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), according to a press release from AWDC
As per AWDC’s statement, despite having the opportunity to diversify its financing, WTOCD did not conduct any commercial activities to date. Considering the decline in trade and manufacturing activities, AWDC hopes WTOCD will look for other avenues as it will not be able to fund the Centre.
Over the years, the WTOCD has developed a range of devices used in the polishing, screening, and grading of diamonds. However, according to Margaux Donckier, AWDC spokeswoman, the market for these high-quality machines in Antwerp has shrunk as diamond manufacturing has relocated abroad. Also, the machines are too high-tech, and too expensive, for the majority of polishing units in low-wage countries.
Despite trying to bring the polishing industry back to Antwerp for the last ten years, AWDC and the WTOCD developed FENIX —a revolutionary technology that fully automates the diamond-polishing process— but due to the current market situation, it is not feasible for the AWDC. AWDC is now considering making a fresh start and continues to facilitate scientific and technological research in the future.