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What: Shares of industrial conglomerate Layne Christensen (Nasdaq: LAYN) were charging ahead today, tacking on as much as 17% in intraday trading on heavier-than-average volume.

So what: Prior to the start of trading today, Layne Christensen released its results for the first quarter of its fiscal 2012. Excluding a one-time gain on an asset sale, the company reported $0.51 in earnings per share, blowing away the $0.28 that Wall Street was looking for. Sales also topped expectations, growing 16% year over year to $267 million.

Now what: While it's the company's water infrastructure division that provides the bulk of Layne Christensen's revenue, the mineral exploration division was the rock star of this quarter. Revenue for the segment jumped 37% fr om last year while profits doubled. The division largely serves copper and gold miners, so as long as high prices continue to spur interest in the metals, investors could see more scorching numbers from this segment.

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