Properties of catalysts prepared from intermetallic compound precursors were investigated by the Bureau of Mines as part of its mission to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign sources for scarce catalytic materials, such as nickel, cobalt, and chromium. Methods were developed whereby catalysts with surface areas of 30 to 40 m2/g were prepared from intermetallic compounds. Activity of these catalysts for the methanation reaction and methanol synthesis was determined using a fixed-bed, single-pass, flow-through reactor. Catalysts prepared from rare-earth-nickel intermetallics had specific activity for methanation that was five times greater than that of commercial catalysts and were equal to or better than commercial catalysts with regard to sulfur tolerance. Under identical reaction conditions, catalysts prepared from thorium- copper intermetallics produced more than 10 times as much methanol as a commercial low-pressure catalyst and exhibited a high degree of catalytic stability.